Indonesia keen to help Pakistan enhance access to ASEAN market: CG

Our Correspondent
February 05, 2023

KARACHI: Indonesian consul general has said that Indonesia, which is chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations , is willing to help Pakistan enhance its access to a market of more than 600...

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KARACHI: Indonesian consul general has said that Indonesia, which is chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is willing to help Pakistan enhance its access to a market of more than 600 million people.

Speaking at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Consul General Dr. June Kuncoro Hadiningrat said ASEAN is one of the biggest regional cooperation and a huge market.

“Pakistani business community can use Indonesia as production base for sending goods to ASEAN countries.”

The countries in the association include Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste.

Underscoring a need to improve social and cultural relations, he also informed that seven memorandums of understanding had been signed between Indonesian universities and varsities in Sindh, whereas the highest number of scholarship recipients in Indonesia was also from Pakistan last year, he added.

He consul general stressed the need to further strengthen the existing trade and economic cooperation between Indonesia and Pakistan through enhanced interactions between the business communities in addition to connecting Indonesian and Pakistani youngsters and children for fostering future economic cooperation.

“For this purpose, Indonesia Pakistan Youth Forum was opened to provide a vibrant platform for our younger generation who must lead way for creating opportunities while another forum namely Indonesia Pakistan Children Friendship has also been created so that our children could know more about each other.”

Indonesian consulate regularly holds interaction with all the stakeholders including politicians and government officials but they rely much on Pakistan’s private sector to boost trade and economic relations, according to Hadiningrat.

“Indonesia and Pakistan with diverse cultures and huge population are altogether a big market with lots of opportunities,” he stressed.

Terming the Indonesia-Pakistan ties as genuine, practical, and result-oriented, he reiterated that the business communities must regularly meet each other to further develop the existing relations.

“A business delegation from Pakistan should visit Indonesia to explore trade and investment opportunities which will be fully facilitated by the Indonesia Consulate”, he advised, adding that his Consulate had been receiving queries about doing business with Pakistan, hence, “these opportunities should not be missed.”

The consul general informed that the trade volume between Pakistan and Indonesia increased to more than $3 billion last year, indicating a rise of 28 percent as compared to compared to 2021.

“We, at the Indonesian Embassy and Consulate in Karachi are hoping for more and more interaction and real cooperation in the economic and trade fields so that the existing trade volume could be improved further.”

He further stated that Pakistan imports had remained mostly confined to palm oil and coal whereas Indonesia mainly imported textiles, sportswear, and agriculture products from Pakistan.

“Therefore, exchange of more products needs to be encouraged.”

Earlier, KCCI president Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, stressed that the two countries should sign a comprehensive free trade agreement to further exploit business and investment opportunities.

He was of the view that tourism could be a multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Pakistan’s landscape is unique and varied, having multiple attractions in Northern areas, and historical and religious sites, which can attract good number of adventurers and mountaineers from Indonesia and rest of the world,” Yousuf said.

KCCI chief emphasised that both countries should work together to develop public-private partnerships for tourism development at provincial levels, exchange cultural activities, and promote potential tourist spots to engage private sectors for promotion of inter-country tourism.

Pakistan is an important investment and business market for Indonesian companies due to its market size, strategic location, and China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which can offer significant opportunities to Indonesian companies, according to Yousuf.

The business communities of the two countries could also undertake joint ventures in palm trees plantation, Islamic finance, halal food, energy, low-cost housing, infrastructure development, telecommunications, and education, he advised.

“We must establish joint business forums and promote cooperation with Indonesian companies in agriculture, textile, foods, pharmaceutical, leather, and energy sectors,” KCCI chief said.

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