Indonesia is open to negotiating a trade agreement that focuses on the interests of both countries.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan expressed his expectation that Indonesia and India can immediately begin negotiating the bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which has been under consideration since 2020.

"The PTA can optimize the economic potentials of the two countries. Indonesia is open to negotiating a trade agreement that focuses on the interests of both countries," he remarked in a statement released on Wednesday.

He made the statement during a meeting with Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday (March 14, 2023).

During the meeting, the two ministers also discussed strengthening bilateral cooperation in various sectors such as information technology, health, textiles, furniture, education and human resources.

India and Indonesia, along with other ASEAN member countries, have been implementing a regional free trade agreement known as the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in Bali, Indonesia, in 2009.

"I am optimistic that there are still many opportunities to enhance trade and investment relations and cooperation between the two countries," Hasan remarked.

He noted that India is a strategic cooperation partner for Indonesia as it is the fourth-largest export destination country and the 21st-largest source of foreign investment.

During the meeting, he also expressed hope to the Indian government to reconsider its plan to impose anti-dumping import duties (BMAD) on Indonesian viscose staple fiber (VSF) products, which are a supporting raw material for the Indian textile industry.

He further noted that one of Indonesia’s biggest VSF producers is interested in investing in India to develop eco-friendly lyocell fiber products of better quality.

"The investment is expected to help Indonesia contribute to the manufacturing of high-quality textiles in India," Hasan said.

Moreover, the Indonesian minister welcomed Goyal's invitation to hold a bilateral meeting between Indonesia and India, where three ministers of each country will participate.

He added that he would invite Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia and State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir to the meeting.

"I hope that India can also confirm who will attend the meeting," Hasan said.

During the meeting, the two ministers also discussed several issues that hindered efforts to increase bilateral trade, including the exports of Indonesian tire and fiber products to India and the imports of Indian buffalo meat, automotive, sugar, and rice to Indonesia.

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Translator: Maria Prayudhia, Uyu Liman
Editor: Anton Santoso
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