Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is hoping to gain greater business access for its products in the Middle-East countries.

"As an important economic cooperation partner for the region, President Joko Widodo and his entourage, hope more access will be granted following their visit to the region, including for the countrys halal products," Presidential communication team member, Ari Dwipayana said in a press statement on Friday.

President Widodo and his entourage left for the Middle East on Friday to make state visits to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

The visits are aimed at deepening bilateral relations between Indonesia and the Middle Eastern countries, especially in the economic, energy resilience, Indonesian migrant workers protection and strategic industry cooperation fields.

President Widodo is scheduled to meet with His Highness King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with the Crown Prince of the UAE, His Highness Mohamed bin Zayed AI Nahyan Muhammad in Abu Dhabi, and with His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in Doha.

Saudi Arabia is Indonesias biggest trading partner in the Middle East, while the UAE is Indonesias main export destination and Qatar, its biggest investment contributor, including in portfolio investments.

In addition to seeking greater market access, President Joko Widodos visits are also aimed at encouraging investors from the three countries to invest directly in Indonesia, especially in the fields of infrastructure, maritime and energy, Dwipayana said.

Following the development of its defense industry, Indonesia has received special attention from the three countries, he pointed out.

During the visit, President Widodo will also encourage continued partnership and cooperation in the strategic industrial sector, including the purchase of several military equipment products from Indonesia.

With regards to energy cooperation, the three countries make up for 24 percent of the worlds oil production and possess 30 percent of total global oil reserves and 18 percent of the world's gas reserves.

In view of that, the visit will also focus on strengthening the partnership between Indonesia and the three countries in the field to support Indonesias energy resilience, Dwipayana said.

More than 1.4 million Indonesians are currently staying in these three countries, mostly migrant workers in the informal sectors that have contributed to the countries economies, as well as Indonesias economy.

In view of that, migrant worker protection will be addressed during the visit, he said.

The Indonesian government will also encourage the governments of the three countries in the Middle East to continue caring for and protecting Indonesian migrant workers.

Indonesias cooperation with the Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar will also boost strategic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In connection with that, President Widodo is scheduled to receive a courtesy call from the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the President of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Dwipayana said.

He added that a number of agreements would also be signed during the visit, including a free-visa facility agreement for diplomatic, official and special purpose passport holders, with Qatar.

An agreement on human trafficking will be signed with the UAE, as well as a Declaration of Intent for Strategic Cooperation between Indonesia and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Several Indonesian companies are also scheduled to sign cooperation agreements with their partners in the three countries, including PT Pindad, PT Dirgantara Indonesia and PT PAL, besides an investment plan for opening a Lulu hypermarket in Indonesia.

Trade between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia was valued at US$8.6 billion in 2014, with Saudis investment in Indonesia reaching US$29.3 million in the first semester of 2015.

The value of trade between Indonesia and the UAE was pegged at US$4.25 billion in 2014, with UAEs investment in Indonesia touching US$25.365 million.

Indonesia and Qatars bilateral trade was recorded at US$1.68 billion, with a number of Qatars investments spread, among others, in PT Indonsat and QNB-Kesawan stock.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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