FAISALABAD, Aug 2 (APP): Indonesian Ambassador Iwan Suyudhie Amri Tuesday said that Pakistan and Indonesia had inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December last and now they were working to evolve a mechanism for export of one million tons of rice from Pakistan to Indonesia by 2019.
Addressing the members of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here, he paid glowing tribute to the deceased former Ambassador of Indonesia Burhan Muhammad, who worked hard to bolster bilateral relations between the two counties.
Indonesian envoy said Pakistan is a very friendly country. He said the two countries should make serious efforts to translate their relations into economic terms.
He said that volume of bilateral trade between the two countries in $2.18 billion, which is far less than the actual potential. He said there is no doubt in it that the balance of trade is in favour of Indonesia but the real issue is bilateral trade as in case of China-Indonesia trade, it is in favour of China.
He said exports from Pakistan should increase. He said that law and order situation had improved in Pakistan and it would definitely have positive impact on its exports to Indonesia.
About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said it would attract foreign investment and all regional countries would enjoy its benefits.
He said that Indonesia is a country with huge population of 250 million. “Our domestic market is very strong which has provided us a solid base for speedy economic growth,” he added.
About Halal food, he said that Pakistan is speedily undertaking the process of Halal food certification which will help it make maximum Halal exports to Indonesia.
About people-to-people contacts, he said that Indonesia is offering scholarships to Pakistani students which will bring both countries closer.
Responding to yet another question about health and education related reforms, he said that Indonesia has allocated 20 per cent of its budget for education as elementary level education is free. Similarly, subsidy
is offered in health sector. The rich are charged while the poor are getting free treatment.
He hoped that this system will be further improved in coming years. He also promised removing hurdles to export of rock salt from Pakistan to Indonesia.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz, president, FCCI, underlined the importance of existing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia. He said that it was $2.18 billion in 2015. Pakistani exports to Indonesia were only $140 million whereas Indonesian exports to Pakistan were $2041 million. Thus the balance of trade is in favour of Indonesia.
Syed Zia Alamdar Hussain, Senior Vice President, FCCI, said that both countries had inked Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in 2012 to enhance their trade. It played a major role in enhancing bilateral trade and the trade volume that was only $700 million in 2010 has jumped to $2.18 billion in 2015.
He said that Indonesia is a major country exporting palm oil to Pakistan. During the last four years, Indonesian exports to Pakistan have swollen from 30% to 83%. He said that in 2015 Pakistan imported 2.1 million tons of palm oil, out of which 70% was imported from Indonesia.
Later, the FCCI memento was also presented to the Indonesian ambassador, while the guest presented a symbol of Indonesia to Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz, president of the FCCI.