MULTAN-Indonesian Ambassador in Pakistan Iwan Suyudhie Amri pointed out on Friday that Indonesia along with ASEAN countries are big markets with great potential for Pakistani products, asking local business community to explore the potential of these markets.

Addressing the members of Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) here at MCCI, the envoy said that Indonesia abolished import duties of up to 30 percent on 20 Pakistani products in a trade deal to secure future of more than one billion dollars of palm oil exports to the south Asian economy that is shifting to a new supplier on long-awaited tariff concessions. The Indonesian government has long been mulling import duty concessions for 20 tariff lines, including rice, mangoes and value-added textiles, under the revised preferential trade agreement (PTA) originally signed with Pakistan in February 2012.Previously,

Pakistan provides preferential tariffs to 313 imports from Indonesia that allows 232 imports from Pakistan under reduced duty structure.

Shedding light on bilateral ties, the Indonesian ambassador said that both the countries are enjoying friendly and cordial relations since inception of two countries. However, now we should make serious efforts to translate these relations into economic terms. He said that volume of bilateral trade between the two countries is 2.18 billion dollars which is far less than the existing potential however it is maximum in case of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, adding that no doubt 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 that in bilateral trade, both countries get benefits. However, he thinks that the export form Pakistan should increase to a considerable level. He further said that law and order situation has improved in Pakistan and it will definitely have positive impact on its exports to Indonesia.

Quoting CPEC, he said that it will attract foreign investment and all regional countries will 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 pointed out.

Earlier in his welcome address, senior vice president of MCCI Khawaja Badar Munir underlined the importance of existing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia and said that it was 2.18 billion Dollars in 2015. Pakistani exports to Indonesia were only 140 million dollars whereas; Indonesian exports to Pakistan were 2.04 billion dollars. Thus the balance of trade is in favour of Indonesia.

Khawaja Badar Munir SVP 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 dollars in 2010 jumped to 2.18 billion in 2015. He said that Indonesia is a major country exporting Palm Oil to Pakistan. During last 4 years the Indonesian exports to Pakistan has swollen from 30% to 83%. He further informed that in 2015 Pakistan imported 2.1 million tons of Palm Oil, out of which 70% came from Indonesia.

He said both countries should provide better market access to each other’s private sectors, grant more tariff concessions and remove all non-tariff barriers that will help in promoting bilateral trade up to actual potential. The meeting was also attended by Mian Rashid Iqbal, Aasim Saeed Sheikh,Mirza Ali Ahmed, Syed Iftikhar Hussain Qureshi, Aurangzen Alamgir, Khawaja Muhammad Farooq, Bakhsgh Elahi, Syed Saqib Ali, Khurram Javed Butt.