September 12, 2018 (MLN): Indonesia Ambassador Iwan Suyhdhie Amri, has shown interest in improving bilateral ties with Pakistan, saying that “Annual bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia is expected to surge to $9 billion by 2019.”
According to data provided by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), during the fiscal year 2017-18, Pakistan has been in a trade deficit worth $762 million, with Indonesia. Pakistan imported goods worth $1.08 billion from Indonesia while the exports to the latter added up to a value of $246 million.
At an international conference organized by the National Institute of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Home Sciences and University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), ambassador Amri highlighted that Indonesia is probably the only country that is making a conscious effort to balance bilateral trade with Pakistan.
“Pakistan is a big market for Indonesia, but we are also making efforts to encourage exports from Pakistan to Indonesia to balance our bilateral trade,” the Ambassador added.
He hopes that Indonesia and Pakistan will build up bilateral ties in trade, research and agriculture, disclosing that a project is underway to introduce cultivation of high-yielding palm plants.
Shedding some light on Indonesian exports of palm oil, he said that the country is the largest exporter of palm oil, with annual shipments worth $22 billion, 10% of which is exported to Pakistan.
Ambassador Amri stated that both the countries are looking forward to enhancing Pakistani exports, adding that a memorandum of understanding has been inked to enhance the export of Pakistani rice to Indnesia.
He further revealed that they are currently working on improving the standards for export commodities including mangoes and kinnow. He hopes that these fruits will be sold on Indonesian stalls next year.
According to Shabbir Hussain Chawla, President of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), the location of both the countries can prove beneficial for the one another.
He said that, “Pakistan is strategically located in South Asia and could provide Indonesia with an opportunity to export to landlocked countries of Central Asia. Similarly, Indonesia could also facilitate Pakistan in gaining access to $2 trillion worth of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market.”
In order to derive maximum benefit from their association, the two countries must minimize all tariff barriers between them and offer maximum incentives to one another. In addition to this, private sectors in both the countries must be encouraged in order to improve bilateral trade.
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