"It is also expected to increase the competitiveness of Palestinian products," Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in a press release on Friday.
Lukita and Vice Foreign Minister AM Fachir was accompanying Vice President Jusuf Kalla in a meeting with Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Zuhair Al Shun, before the announcement of zero tariffs imposition at the Vice President`s Office in Jakarta, Thursday (February 28).
Lukita revealed that the provisions on the elimination of tariffs for the two Palestinian products had been active since February 21, 2019, marked by the sending of a diplomatic note by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Palestine.
By imposing this policy, Indonesian people will be able to consume dates imported from Palestine during Ramadan in the next May-June.
Tariffs elimination is also an important measure for the improvement of Indonesia-Palestine bilateral trade relations.
Data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) shows the total trade between Indonesia and Palestine in 2018 reached US$3.5 million, consisting of Indonesia`s exports of $2.8 million, an increase of 34 percent compared to 2017 (YoY). Imports amounted to $727 thousand, or an increase of 113 percent (YoY).
Indonesian products exported to Palestine include extracts, essences, and coffee, tea concentrates ($2.1 million); pasta ($356 thousand); bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits and bakery equipment ($192 thousand); plates, bases and tools of retread rubber ($43.3 thousand); and wood charcoal ($30 thousand).
Meanwhile, Indonesia`s main products imported from Palestine are fresh or dried dates ($722.7 thousand) and olive oil and other fractions of olives ($4.1 thousand), as well as screws, bolts, nuts ($206 US).
Zero tariffs imposed on dates and olive oil from Palestine are expected to provide an alternative choice of more competitive sources for consumers and domestic industries in Indonesia.
Reporting by Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
Editing by Suharto