Minister encourages economic cooperation with Africa, Eurasia, and Latin America

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called on the Trade Ministry and the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to optimize economic cooperation with countries in three regions, namely Africa, Eurasia, and Latin America.

"We have yet to optimize the engagement with these three regions. We call on Trade Minister and BKPM chairman to focus on these three groups," Retno said, in a working meeting of the Trade Ministry here, on Wednesday.

The countrys trade and investment in the three regions would be prioritized without abandoning its traditional markets, she remarked.

The minister said she was accompanied by delegations from state-run firms, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), and Exim Bank during her recent visit to Egypt, South Africa, and Mozambique.

According to Retno, trade partners have always requested the issue of financing mechanism.

"When we talk about cooperation enhancement with South Africa, they always ask about financing mechanism. This question must be answered by Exim Bank," Retno stated.

Sharing the same opinion, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita noted that Indonesia has yet to target the three regions because of high import duties.

"In Nigeria and some other countries, Indofood has already built an industry. Why not export? To make (its products) cheaper and with no import duty, we must encourage such industries and there must be cooperation," Enggar stated.

The ministry would invite investors and foreign trade attaches to identify commodities that could be prioritized.(*)