Let us cooperate in the region, so that the ASEAN is not only used as a market for products from outside (the region)
Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA) - Indonesia will transfer knowledge regarding the development of co-operatives and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agricultural sector to Timor-Leste.

"Timor-Leste wants an extension to the MoU because the old MoU has expired. They want cooperation in the development of MSMEs in the agricultural, horticulture, and marine sectors," Minister of Co-operatives and SMEs Teten Masduki stated here on Thursday.

On Thursday, Masduki met with Timor-Leste's Secretary of State for Cooperatives, Arsenio Pereira da Silva.

Masduki affirmed that Indonesia, as the largest country in the ASEAN, is keen that ASEAN countries work together to drive growth of the regional economy, including for Timor-Leste that will become a full ASEAN member.

According to the minister, ASEAN has a large market, rich natural resources, huge potential for the tourism industry, and a significant population.

With the tremendous opportunities, Masduki believes that the ASEAN can equally compete with large industries in developed nations by maximizing its natural resources.

"Let us cooperate in the region, so that the ASEAN is not only used as a market for products from outside (the region), but we can also become a global production hub, especially for agriculture, downstream mining and plantation products, and aquaculture," he remarked.

He said that Indonesia will share knowledge and practices with Timor-Leste in order to help upgrade its MSMEs and open access to the ASEAN market.

The cooperation between Indonesia and Timor-Leste will also include assistance to small farmers and product standardization.

"For financing to Timor-Leste, we will expand the partnership of savings and loans' co-operatives in East Nusa Tenggara," Masduki stated.

Meanwhile, Secretary da Silva remarked that almost 80 percent of the products in Timor-Leste are imported because the quality of domestic products is not yet competitive.

He emphasized the need for Timor-Leste to gain knowledge from Indonesia which he considers to be more experienced in developing the MSMEs sector.

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Translator: Kuntum R, Kenzu
Editor: Sri Haryati
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