Indonesian ambassador says trade diversification with Pakistan is vital for both nations

Indonesian Ambassador Adam M. Tugio said on Monday that Indonesian companies were exploring opportunities for investments in Special Economic Zones under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Talking to Dunya News, Ambassador Tugio stressed that when the business communities of Indonesia consider Pakistan as an important country for access to the Central Asian countries and the region as a whole.

“We are engaging with several Chambers of Commerce in Indonesia, and many Indonesian companies are considering investments in Special Economic Zones under CPEC and so far two Indonesia companies have set up their factories in Faisalabad and Sindh,” he highlighted.

“The CPEC is one of the important projects of connectivity as it has not only launched infrastructure projects but also energy projects that will be beneficial for the economic and social development of Pakistan,” Mr Tugio said.

Talking about bilateral relations, ambassador Tugio said that Pak-Indonesia relations cover political, security, economic, social, and cultural levels adding between the two countries, there are immense possibilities to increase relations in the fields of trade, culture, tourism, education, science and technology, environment, and defense.

He highlighted that economic diplomacy is one of his main priorities and there were immense opportunities to increase bilateral trade in both countries.

“If we look at the data since the Pak- Indonesia Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) signed in 2013 bilateral trade has increased threefold as the trade volume has reached 4.2 billion dollars annually, which was 1.3 billion dollars in 2013,” he said.

He pointed out that diversification in trade was a big challenge that needed attention of both countries as the traded products were limited and only a few items were being imported and exported further highlighting that 75 percent of palm oil was imported from Indonesia to Pakistan followed by 7 percent of coal.

Similarly, “if you review the export products from Pakistan to Indonesia, you will know that the volume of textile and leather products is high,” he said.

“The global supply chain is an important issue after the Corona Virus, specific countries work to promote specific products and both countries should cooperate with each other for their benefits as Pakistan produces the best textile and garments in the world and it imports the raw materials for this, especially cotton and polyester from the world,” he said.

The ambassador said that Indonesia can provide Pakistan raw materials in this regard so that the trade between both the Muslim countries increase.

Pakistan has offered its Jet Fighters to other countries including Indonesia and in 2018, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo visited one of the Airbases of Pakistan where Pakistan Air Force showed jet fighters and it is possible to work with Pakistan tomorrow on such technology,” he said in terms of the cooperation in defense sector.

He revealed that there is a growing tendency for Pakistani students to study in East Asia and for the past three years, Pakistani students have been at the top in receiving scholarships and Indonesia has provided 170 scholarships to Pakistani students this year, which is an increase of 100 scholarships compared to 70 last year. Scholarships are provided by Indonesia in three ways. Number one Indonesian government provides scholarships under which all expenses are borne by the Indonesian government. Number two scholarships are provided by universities, and number three by charitable institutions.

He said that developing countries are facing terrorism and extremism; there is cooperation between Pakistan and Indonesia to end terrorism and extremism. There is cooperation between the Indonesian counter-terrorism agency and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), and “we can play an important role in enhancing each other's capabilities,” he said.

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