Thailand and Tajikistan have agreed to strengthen ties and expand trade and investment, according to a Thai government press release. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is on official visits to Tajikistan on Aug. 19-20 and Pakistan from Aug. 20 to Aug. 21. Yingluck and her entourage arrived in Dushanbe, Tajikistani capital, on Monday and met with Tajikistani President Emomalii Rahmon. Yingluck was officially welcomed at the presidential palace. The meeting of the two leaders was held before a full meeting of Thai delegation and Tajikistani officials. The leaders agreed to foster relations and expand trade and investment between the two countries. Tajikistan is a potential market for Thai goods and is a gateway to Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East. The country is also endowed with natural resources and has low-cost labor. Apart from trade and investment, Thailand is also ready to collaborate with Tajikistan in food processing, halal food, packaging, and the jewelry businesses. On a related note, Yingluck said she welcomed Tajikistan\'s Somon Air which is keen to open direct flights from the capital of Dushanbe to Bangkok to promote tourism in Thailand. Only 438 Tajikistani tourists visited Thailand last year. After their discussions, the two leaders witnessed the signing of an agreement on visa exemptions for diplomatic and official/ service passport holders. The Thai prime minister is scheduled to leave Tajikistan for an official visit to Pakistan on Tuesday.