Jakarta (ANTARA) - Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki has urged furniture and crafts industry players to seek potential alternative markets in response to changes in traditional markets.

"Within the next several years, we have to aim for alternative markets, not just America and Europe, but also the Middle East," he said.

"That is important because the world is experiencing changes," he explained during the national unveiling of the furniture and crafts exhibition 2023 IFFINA here on Tuesday.

Furniture industry players have an important role because the majority of them comprise SMEs and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which absorb a large percentage of the workforce.

However, the shift in the global economic landscape has forced Indonesia to look for new markets with more potential to support the growth of the furniture industry.

"Such as the Middle East, which, I think, is quite well and growing. Same goes for Asia. That is what we have to aim for," he said.

Masduki also underlined that the domestic market prospect can be utilized, especially with the government spending mandate that is being focused on domestic products.

"That can be utilized when the world is not doing okay," he said.

Echoing this sentiment, Agro Industry Director General at the Industry Ministry Putu Juli Ardika said Indonesian furniture industry products are frequently exported to Europe and the United States, which are currently experiencing economic stagnation.

Under the coordination of the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, an export task force has been formed that is currently exploring and searching for alternative furniture export destinations beyond the countries that are experiencing a recession, he informed.

"ASEAN has a large potential, so does India, the Middle East, and several Asian countries," he added.

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Ardika said Indonesia has an edge when it comes to solid wood and rattan products. Their potential will continue to be pushed so that they can be developed.

Chairperson of the Indonesian Furniture and Crafts Industry Association (Asmindo) Dedy Rochimat said the recession that Europe and the United States are experiencing has pressured the furniture industry recently.

"We are also looking for new markets. The furniture industry must continue to grow," he added.

"We know that the local market alone is extraordinary, especially when there is a mandate to spend on local products. This is a huge potential," he said.

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Translator: Ade irma Junida, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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