Jakarta (ANTARA News) - An Indonesian business delegation composed of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and big-business chiefs is in Manila to enhance ties and further trade and economic exchanges with the Philippines.

The 40-member delegation, led by the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industy (Kadin), Rosan Roeslani, is in Manila from Wednesday to Sunday to conduct a series of business-to-business meetings with their Philippine counterparts, according to information from the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The business visit was also one of the side events during the state visit to the Philippines of Indonesian President Joko Widodo on April 28, the Philippine embassy in Jakarta said in a press statement.

To welcome the business delegation, a Business Networking Forum was held on April 26 at the Indonesian Embassy to facilitate networking and forge a closer and more vibrant trade and economic relations between the Philippines and Indonesia.

Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Johny Lumintang noted in his welcome remarks the improving trade relations between the Philippines and Indonesia with trade transactions amounting to US$ 3.56 billion in 2015. He also reported that Indonesia is now the 9th trading partner of the Philippines with a percentage share of 3.7% in the total trade of the Philippines with the world.

During the forum, the DTI conducted a briefing on Doing Business in the Philippines and presented trade and investment opportunities in the country. One of the highlights of the presentation is the potential public private partnership projects that can spur massive development in the country.

A special focus on Mindanao was also presented, in particular initiatives on enhancing connectivity in the region.

The Indonesian SME delegation attended the ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibition, an event aimed at promoting a creative and innovative ASEAN on Thursday.

Distinguished speakers from Indonesia such as Mayor Achmad Alf Arslan Djunaid of Pekalongan participated in a panel discussion on Crafts and Folk Arts.

Pekalongan or the "Batik City" of Indonesia is one of the members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, an organization that promotes cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic sector for urban development.

The delegation met with top business executives at the sidelines of the Prosperity for All Summit organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, on Friday.

At least eight memorandums of understanding were signed by the Indonesian conglomerates with their counterparts.

The agreements would pave the way for the expansion of Indonesian businesses in the Philippines, investments in water delivery, sewerage and sanitation services, cooperation agreements in property development, and the promotion and distribution of Indonesian products to the Philippines and vice versa.

The business delegation is also scheduled to travel to Davao City to participate in the launching of the Davao/GeneralSantos-Bitung ASEAN RoRo Shipping Service on Sunday.

The maiden voyage of the shipping service will be launched by President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Aside from the business delegation already in Manila, a large contigent from Bitung and Manado will also be attending the DGB RoRo launch.

A business-to-business meeting between Indonesian and Mindanaoan companies is scheduled to be conducted after the launching ceremonies to encourage more entrepreneurs to take advantage of the opportunities being offered by the new shipping service. (*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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