Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Niger held the first session of the joint commission between the two nations in the Niger capital of Niamey on Thursday, according to the Indonesian Foreign Ministry.

Vice Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir, who led the Indonesian delegation to the meeting said Indonesia is ready to enhance relations with Niger particularly in the fields of trade, infrastructure and technical cooperation, the ministry said in a press statement released on Friday.

He underscored the need for the two countries to make every effort to increase bilateral trade including reducing import duties.

In response, Niger Foreign Minister Kalla Ankouraou expressed support for the Indonesian government`s initiative to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Niger is a member.

Trade between Indonesia and Niger, which was recorded at US$6.62 million last year is still far from optimum.

Ankouraou, who led the Niger delegation to the meeting further touched on the need to increase connectivity and people-to-people contact between the two countries by, among others, lifting calling visa status for Niger citizens and implementing a visa waiver for diplomatic and official passport holders.

Fachir said the relevant parties have agreed to the process which will be implemented in the near future.

The two countries agreed to hold the first session of the joint commission when the Niger president visited Indonesia in October 2017.

Reporting by Yuni Arisandy
Editing Suharto, Otniel

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