This is the best momentum that we must take advantage of to immediately restore and revive our economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia’s trade with Latin America and the Caribbean has moved in a positive direction, with total trade value reaching US$8.25 billion (Rp116.8 trillion) in 2020, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said.

The total trade value reflected an increase of 6.45 percent compared to trade of US$7.75 billion (Rp110.4 trillion) recorded in 2019.

“This is the best momentum that we must take advantage of to immediately restore and revive our economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic," Marsudi said while opening the Indonesia-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Forum (INA-LAC Business Forum) virtually on Thursday.

She then outlined ways to strengthen Indonesia’s economic relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.

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First, the two regions need to reopen their borders to facilitate economic and business activities through travel corridor arrangements, the minister said.

By adhering to strict health protocols, the travel corridor is aimed at facilitating essential business travel which can be expanded for the purpose of tourism, she said.

“To that end, we need to explore mutual recognition of vaccine certificates between Indonesia, Latin American and Caribbean countries,” she remarked.

Second, Indonesia wishes to deepen cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean in the creative industry, digital economy, and connectivity as an innovative solution to accelerate economic recovery, she said.

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For Indonesia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, creative economy plays a primary role in increasing livelihood and lowering the poverty rate, she said.

In the meantime, the digital economy has also been growing and contributing significantly to sustainable business, she noted.

Indonesia itself has more than two thousand startups, including five unicorns and one decacorn, the minister said.

“These sectors give us many opportunities to cooperate in order to grow farther through increasing cooperation potentials in digital trade and creative economy. In addition to developing greater regional economic connectivity, we also need to address challenges to connectivity aspects, including trade barriers due to container scarcity,” she added.

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"Third, Indonesia invites Latin America and the Caribbean to establish a partnership in the field of green economy based on similar commitment to reduce global carbon emissions," she said.

In this regard, Indonesia encourages the development of an ecosystem for electric cars and renewable energy, including biofuels and solar panels, she added.

This sector may contribute not only to the creation of jobs but also the development of future energy, Marsudi remarked.

“Therefore, I invite LAC countries to strengthen investment cooperation in green economy for the benefit of our future,” she said.

The INA-LAC Business Forum, which has been held annually since 2019, is aimed at enhancing, economic, trade, and investment relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, Indonesia’s non-traditional markets.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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