KARACHI: The consul general (CG) of the Republic of Indonesia in Karachi, Dr June Kuncoro Hadiningrat, has expressed interest in promoting trade, tourism, investment, education and people-to-people contact with Pakistan.
He was speaking on “The development of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia and guidelines to promote tourism in Pakistan” at an event organised by the Diplomatic Business Club at the Alliance Francaise de Karachi here.
“As an official representative of the Republic of Indonesia in Sindh, it is my task to develop, maintain and promote the long-standing relations between Indonesia and Pakistan, particularly in Sindh, in terms of trade, tourism, investment, education and people-to-people contacts,” he said.
“I am tasked to nurture our countries’ relations at the civil society level. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic state with 17,508 islands, having the length from the east side to the west side of the country spans for more than 5,150km or farther than the distance between Karachi to Istanbul.
“The trade volume between Indonesia and Pakistan has risen considerably in the last few years. Even during the challenges of 2020 our trade exceeded to $2.58 billion, growing more than 61 per cent as compared to the same period last year ($1.07 billion). A 61 per cent increase is such an incredible achievement in this pandemic setting.
“The Covid-19 pandemic presents us with the deepest challenges for our resilience to the development of bilateral trade. Therefore the consulate has initiated a virtual online service, the Indonesia-Pakistan Portal,” he informed.
Immense potential of trade
“Despite the incredible growth of bilateral trade, the government of both countries still sees the potential economic cooperation between Indonesia and Pakistan as immense and there are also several priority issues that need to be addressed, especially the trade deficit,” he added.
“The two governments are agreed to elevate the level of economic cooperation especially in the trade sector, which, now based upon the Indonesia-Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement (IP=PTA) signed in 2012, is to be transferred to a Free Trade Agreement [FTA], named officially as the Indonesia-Pakistan Trade in Goods Agreement, with the target of completion in 2022,” he said.
“For the trade deficit, the consulate of the Republic of Indonesia is always actively involved in promoting the implementation of the IP-PTA that can be granted to a Pakistani business person or companies to access more than 323 goods/items of which some 82 goods/items are with zero tariffs, including fresh fruits, textile, sports goods and leather goods.
“This is one of the prioritised efforts done by the consulate to create sustainable trade between Indonesia and Pakistan. In fact, one study suggested that Pakistan will have potential exports to Indonesia in the amount of $3.2 billion if able to tap the potential of just 25 goods/items listed on the IP-PTA,” he said.
“Related to FTA, the consulate of the Republic of Indonesia also encourages the business community to make constructive and implementable recommendations to expedite and give significant magnitude to the process of the ongoing negotiation of Indonesia-Pakistan FTA,” he said.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2021