Jakarta (ANTARA) - Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi pushed for enhancing bilateral trade between Indonesia and New Zealand and improving the balance of trade during a meeting with her New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters.

"Hence, Indonesia strives to improve its agricultural products to ensure its compliance with New Zealand's biosecurity criteria," she said after the meeting here on Thursday.

Besides bilateral trade, Marsudi and Peters also discussed the progress of bilateral recognition of halal products through cooperation with Indonesia's Halal Product Assurance Agency (BPJPH).

Despite some issues regarding halal production process, the cooperation is expected to be worked out soon, Marsudi said.

"I ask the team from the two countries to continue consulting each other about the technical aspect," she stressed.

The minister also commended New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon's upcoming visit to Jakarta with a business delegation, which is expected to bolster economic trade between Indonesia and New Zealand.

During their meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit on March 5, 2024, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Prime Minister Luxon noted the decline in the Indonesia-New Zealand trade balance.

According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the balance of trade between Indonesia and New Zealand slipped 18.82 percent to US$1,728 million in 2023 after recording exports of US$2,128.7 million in 2022.

Widodo underscored the need for creating new opportunities to increase the interaction between Indonesian and New Zealander business and trade sectors, including the halal sector.

To bolster mutual recognition and acceptance, New Zealand's Ministry of Biosecurity and Ministry of Food Safety have initiated a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) on halal product assessment between Indonesia and New Zealand.

Minister of Biosecurity and Minister of Food Safety, Andrew Hoggard, has also stressed New Zealand's commitment to ensuring that products exported to Indonesia comply with the archipelagic nation's halal product standards.

"We see Indonesia as the world's largest halal market and the largest recipient of exports," Hoggard told Indonesian Vice President Ma'ruf Amin during the latter's visit to Auckland, New Zealand, on March 1 this year.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa P, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Arie Novarina
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