Wednesday October 04, 2023

Indonesia on the cusp of a free trade agreement with Pakistan: envoy

December 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Indonesia were in talks to reach a trade agreement, which was likely to take effect soon, giving commercial and economic activities a much-needed upward thrust, an Indonesian envoy said on Monday.

“A Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) already exists between the two countries, while a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is also being reviewed,” said Adam Mulawarman Tugio, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Pakistan, addressing a seminar to promote bilateral tourism.

The envoy said it was the century of Asian region and Southeast Asia, Pacific Asia, Central Asia, and China would play an important role in the global economy and economic cooperation could open new avenues for South Asian and Association of East Asian Nations (ASEANs) members.

Tugio said emerging economies like Pakistan could, on the one hand, link global trade with Central Asian countries, and on the other hand, its geographical link with western China could be beneficial to Indonesia and ASEAN countries.

Indonesia emerged as the only $1 trillion economy in ASEAN and Islamic world and both of the countries had great potential for cooperation in all fields including tourism, trade, e-commerce and defense, the envoy said.

He said cooperation in the tourism sector on both sides could introduce new dimensions in the promotion of mutual tourism, adding, the two countries could lay a new foundation for relations by promoting cooperation in the tourism and services sector.

He said the huge market of ASEAN countries with a population of 650 million had a huge economic opportunities for Pakistan, being discussed in both the countries.

With online connections and boost in Information Technology (IT), young people from both the countries could benefit from each other’s experiences and skills to promote economic and cultural integration.

Tugio said in 2020 global retail e-commerce sales stood at $4.28 trillion and was expected to reach $ 5.4 trillion by 2022 and large youth populations in both countries could make their mark in the global e-commerce trade and create vast employment opportunities.

“Indonesia has set a $50 billion e-commerce trade target by 2025 to connect with the biggest sector of global trade,” the ambassador said adding that Pakistan and Indonesia could be linked with e-commerce trade to increase bilateral trade as well as connect both sides’ youth in connection of business and trade.

Responding to a question about his country’s rapid economic growth and economic reforms, he said Indonesia was the first to work on Ease of Doing Business (EODB) and business facilitation, which attracted foreign investors.