Kadin signs 12 MoUs in the Philippines

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has held business dialogues and signed 12 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), during President Joko Widodos visit to the Philippines.

"The signing of these agreements is aimed at enhancing bilateral cooperation and exchanging information regarding trade barriers between the two countries," Kadins Deputy Chairman for International Relations, Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, said in a statement here on Friday.

The MoUs have involved local businessmen in the property, pharmaceutical industry, infrastructure, manufacture, tourism, distribution and consumer products, with a total investment of some US$300 million.

The delegation also visited the newly-opened Alfamart retailer stores in Manila.

"Kadin has fully supported the expansion of Indonesian brands in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market. This year, they have planned to open 400 stores in the Philippines," she said.

According to Shinta, business expansion in the Philippines would extend Indonesian products reach, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) product.

Kadin also supported a plan to open a new shipping line routing Davao-General Santos-Bitung, which is expected to increase bilateral trade.

The Philippines is the 11th largest trading partner for Indonesia, with total bilateral trade of US$3.51 billion in 2015.

In 2016, bilateral trade was recorded at US$4.9 billion, with an average growth of 6.3 percent during the past five years.

President Joko Widodo arrived in Manila for a state visit and inaugurated the new shipping route that will connect eastern Indonesia to southern Philippines in Davao.

"I announce gladly the opening of a new route that will connect Davao, with General Santos (in Brunei Darussalam), and Bitung," President Jokowi said after he met with his Filipino counterpart Rodrigo Duterte.

South Philippines and the eastern region of Indonesia are only separated by the Celebes Sea. The new route is expected to cut short goods delivery time to 2.5 days.

In addition, the new route would also save 70 percent of the cost, from US$2,200 (routing Manila-Jakarta-Manado) for delivery of 20 standard-sized containers, to US$700.

"This is part of our bilateral economic cooperation, considering that Indonesia and the Philippines' trade has sharply increased by 32 percent amidst the global economy slowdown," Jokowi said.(*)