Jakarta (ANTARA) -
​​​​​​The Indonesian government is ready to increase the export of cacao and its derivative products to European Union (EU) countries.

"One of the leading commodities that has seen an increasing demand is chocolate, or cocoa. (Thus) Indonesia is committed to increasing the volume of cacao exports and its quality, along with sustainable derivative products," Indonesian Agricultural Attache for Belgium Wahida said on Sunday.

Indonesia's trade balance for cacao products and derivatives always shows a positive trend from year to year.

The value of Indonesian cacao exports to the EU in 2018 reached US$215.2 million, an increase of 22 percent compared to 2017 with US$201.7 million.

This figure is only one percent of the total import value of the EU for cacao products and its derivatives, which has reached US$27.4 billion.

The largest cacao importing countries to the EU are Ivory Coast (US$4 billion), Ghana (US$1.5 billion) and Nigeria (US$672 million). Based on data reported by Eurostat, the EU is the largest cacao consumer in the world, at 8-9 kilogram annually per capita.

According to the Indonesian Embassy's Trade Attache in Brussels, Merry Astrid Indriasari, securing access to strategic commodity markets through tariff liberalization is key in the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA) negotiations.

Such effort can also increase the exports of cacao and its derivative products to the EU market. Until now, Indonesia has proposed an initial offer for more than 10,000 tariff posts, including cocoa and its derivative products.

"We hope this can accelerate the negotiation process to catch up with other ASEAN countries that already have FTAs with the EU," Astrid said.

On the other hand, the demand for cacao beans in the country is also increasing. In addition to exporting cacao beans, currently the cocoa processing industry for re-exports is developing within Indonesia.

For the record, in 2018 Indonesia imported 240,000 tons of cacao beans, with an import value of US$ 528 million. The supply of available national cacao beans is still not able to meet the installed capacity of the cacao processing industry.

"Cacao processing plants process cacao beans into semi-finished goods to be exported to major consumer countries, such as Europe, the United States and Japan," Wahida said.

Cacao butter remains Indonesia's leading export product, with export volumes reaching 24,600 tons in 2018.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa Pramudyani
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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