FAISALABAD - Indonesia will encourage production of palm oil and its processing in addition to the production of high value products from this edible oil as joint ventures in Pakistan, said Wisnu Suryo Hutomo Minister Counselor of the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad.

During a meeting with Acting President Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) Farooq Yusuf in his office here Wednesday, Hutomo said that there were vast opportunities of exploiting untapped trade potential between the two brotherly countries.

"Pakistan is exporting rice while there is huge demand of Pakistani Kinnow and Mango in Indonesia," he said and added that Indonesia was also exporting palm oil to Pakistan. However, efforts are being made to encourage production of palm oil in Pakistan in collaboration with Indonesian businessmen.

He said that he had visited University of Agriculture (UAF) so that high yielding varieties of Indonesian Palm could be cultivated in Pakistan. He said that a proposal  also under consideration to setup a refinery to process crude oil in order to produce food grade palm oil.

He said this would initiate a process for the production of a long chain of high value products including biscuits, chocolates, soap and cosmetics etc.

He said that he had been trying to promote consensus on these projects between the investors of two countries as it may ensure balance bilateral trade between the two countries.

Regarding China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Hutomo said that 288 different projects were being implemented with huge investment of 63 billion dollars. "This major infrastructure will not only benefit Pakistan but also ensure enhanced connectivity between the regional countries," he said and added that proposed palm oil refinery would not only cater to the domestic needs of Pakistan but its products could also be exported to others countries.

He further said that a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) had already been signed between the two countries while Pakistani business community should contact its commerce ministry to finalize the draft of the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Hutomo said that 33rd Trade Expo would be organized from October 24 to 28, 2018 in Indonesia. He said that 11000 exhibitors and 28,000 visitors expected to visit this mega event.

He said that exporters of knitted kids' wear should also participate in the event as Indonesia was a major consumer market of kids' cloth. He said that he would visit Faisalabad next month along with Indonesia ambassador to formally invite business community of Faisalabad to participate in this trade expo.

He further said that Indonesia would provide free visa for 30 days to the participants from 174 countries for this trade expo.  He said that it's a big opportunity to make exports to Indonesia and hence, exporters of Faisalabad should also avail from tit.

Earlier, Farooq Yusuf, Acting President FCCI said that trade balance was in favor of Indonesia and the proposed palm oil production and refinery would help in balancing trade between the two countries.

He said that Indonesian investors could also invest in hydro projects and alternative energy resources while joint ventures could also be initiated in textiles, agro based industry, livestock, fruit processing, Halal meat, leather goods, oil and gas, information technology, tourism, organic as well as inorganic agro-based products and food items.

Miss Adelin Indah Marisa, Third Secretary Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia was also present during this meeting.

Later, Farooq Yusuf presented FCCI shield to Wisnu Suryo Hutomo Minister Counselor of the Indonesian Embassy.