Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi held a meeting with her Tunisian counterpart, Nabil Ammar, in Tunis, December 21, to encourage acceleration of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and concrete cooperation in the fertilizer industry.

The PTA negotiations between Indonesia and Tunisia have been carried out since 2018, with six rounds of negotiations so far. The last round took place in 2022.

"Indonesia and Tunisia are committed to accelerating the negotiations. We will do our best, so that the negotiations can be completed next year," Marsudi remarked while delivering a press statement virtually on Friday, regarding her visit to Tunisia.

She noted that trade relations between the two countries are believed to become stronger with the implementation of the PTA.

Indonesia-Tunisia trade volume has continued to grow at an average of 29.39 percent per year since 2018. In 2022, the bilateral trade volume was recorded at US$215.3 million, or the highest since 2018.

Indonesia also recorded a positive balance in the 2018-2022 period, namely a surplus of US$123.9 million in 2022.

"We hope that with the PTA, this trade trend will become stronger," the minister affirmed.

Apart from the PTA, Indonesia also sought cooperation with Tunisia in the fertilizer industry to respond to global fertilizer supplies that have been disrupted by global conflicts.

On account of the condition, Indonesia needs to strengthen the domestic fertilizer industry through approaches, such as by diversifying raw material supplies.

"In this context, (state-owned fertilizer holding firm) PT Pupuk Indonesia is in the process of dealing with Tunisia, which is one of the largest phosphate exporters in the world. This is very important to support Indonesia's food security," she remarked.

According to Marsudi, discussions regarding PTA and fertilizer cooperation will be continued by the countries' ambassadors, and it is hoped that a step forward in Indonesia-Tunisia cooperation could be achieved next year.

In addition to meeting the Tunisian foreign affairs minister, Marsudi also paid courtesy visits to Tunisian President Kais Saied and to Tunisian Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani during her brief visit to Tunisia lasting nine hours.

"Indonesia-Tunisia bilateral relations have developed well. The two countries have very strong political ties. The strong political ties must be used as a foundation to strengthen economic cooperation," she remarked.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Raka Adji
Editor: Arie Novarina
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