Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Uzbekistan are exploring prospects to bolster economic cooperation, including investment in the fertilizer industry, according to the Industry Ministry.

"We encourage collaboration between Indonesia’s and Uzbekistan’s industrial players, for instance, in the fertilizer industry sector. This effort is expected to boost competitiveness," the ministry's Director General of Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Textile Industry (IKFT), Muhammad Khayam, stated here on Monday.

The ministry recently sent a trade mission, accompanied by Deputy House Speaker Rachmat Gobel, concurrently a prominent businessman, along with several other legislators to Uzbekistan.

"There are opportunities for broader economic cooperation between Indonesia and Uzbekistan for spurring trade balance between the two countries," he affirmed.

Uzbekistan, located in Central Asia, is a strategic trade partner of Indonesia, and it has been experiencing rapid economic progress, Khayam stated.

The Indonesian delegation spotted an opportunity for Uzbekistan to supply raw materials, such as potassium chloride (KCl), required for the fertilizer industry.

Indonesia is not a KCl producer country and has, so far, imported it from Russia, Canada, and Laos.

KCl is additionally used as an auxiliary material in the food, beverage, and medical industries.

"In future, we can import this material from Uzbekistan or we are strive to attract their investment to Indonesia," he remarked.

The Samarkand NPK plant in Uzbekistan has an annual capacity of 250 thousand tons. All NPK raw materials come from local sources, with gas in Uzbekistan priced at around US$2.2 per MMBTU.

"In addition, there is the Uz-Potash (KCl industry), with a capacity of 600 thousand tons," Khayam pointed out.

KCl from Uzbekistan has been recognized by the fertilizer industry in Indonesia, such as PT Pupuk Indonesia (Persero), and PT Sentana Adidaya Pratama.

Rachmat Gobel, concurrently the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) deputy chairman in charge as the coordinator for Industry and Development (Korinbang), pointed to opportunities to establish cooperation in the agro-industry sector.

There is demand for tropical fruits, including bananas, dragon fruit, avocado, and coffee, in Uzbekistan for the consumption of its citizens and to support its industry, he remarked.

"Hence, I want to encourage sister city cooperation between cities in Uzbekistan and regions in Indonesia that produce tropical fruits," he stated.

Gobel cited as an example that Lumajang District in East Java Province, which is a banana-producing region, could look for a district or city in Uzbekistan to establish twin city cooperation.

"Regions and other cities that produce dragon fruit and coffee can also do the same," he remarked.

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Translator: Risniani F, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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