Indonesia to help expand trade | The Express Tribune


ISLAMABAD:

Indonesia can play a significant role in boosting economic and trade opportunities for Pakistan as it can provide Islamabad access to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) market, said Indonesia Ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio.

Speaking at the National Press Club on Friday, the envoy said that a free trade agreement (FTA) had been signed between Indonesia and Asean, which could help enhance Pakistan’s trade with the region through Indonesia.

He added that Asean members, Asia-Pacific nations, Australia and New Zealand were included in the FTA, which provided an opportunity to Pakistan to benefit from the emerging markets of those countries.

“Today, regionalism is on the rise in the trading world and Asean is one of the largest trading blocs, which is important for global trade,” he said.

“This century is the century of Asian region and the emerging economies of Asia can generate massive trade and economic opportunities for the world.”

The ambassador was of the view that economies such as that of Pakistan needed to be connected to the global supply chain to reap the benefits of international trade.

“China has a large share in the global supply chain and by joining hands with it, countries can tap a huge chunk of global trade.”

He noted that Pakistan and Indonesia had a combined market of about 500 million people and there was a need to tap all the available opportunities for mutual benefit.

READ Call to unlock avenues for Pak-ASEAN partnership

Tugio said that the trade volume between Pakistan and Asean nations, including Indonesia, was not according to its true potential.

“Additional efforts are required to find the untapped sectors in Asean and Pakistan,” he said. “There are ample opportunities in the global market for Pakistan’s textile sector and agricultural products.”

Recalling that Pakistan and Indonesia had inked a preferential trade agreement, he added that the two countries were close to signing an FTA to further prop up the two-way trade.

He cited that Pakistan and Indonesia had ample opportunities for cooperation in tourism.

“Media can play a vital role in strengthening relations between Pakistan and Indonesia and in this regard a series of discussions will be started with the National Press Club,” he announced.

In response to a question, the ambassador said that a large number of Pakistani students were studying in the universities of Indonesia and most of them were on scholarships.

“Indonesia has provided the highest number of foreign scholarships to Pakistani students this year and the two countries need to further enhance cooperation in the field of education,” he stressed.

Comparing the two places, he said that both nations had similarities in food and culture.

Last month, Tugio said that the business community of Pakistan should play its due role in promoting trade and investment in Asean markets such as Indonesia.

Talking to a delegation of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), he pointed out that there were ample opportunities for the Pakistani business community in the $1 trillion market of Indonesia.

“The two nations have immense potential for cooperation in diverse fields including tourism, trade, e-commerce, textile, automobile, pharmaceutical and defence.”

The envoy pointed out that Indonesia had a rich culture of tourism and hospitality and its government sought to fetch 10% of the annual national income from that sector alone but due to the Covid-19 wave, it was unable to achieve the objective.

“There are many avenues for people going to Indonesia from Pakistan for tourism,” he said and noted that Bali and other islands held an important place in the world of tourism.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2022.

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