Govt sees no impact yet from political tension in Egypt

the conflict in Egypt would possibly have a real effect on exports of several commodities such as crude palm oil, paper and electronics
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government has not yet seen the impact of political tension in Egypt on its trade with that country, trade minister Mari Elka Pangestu said.

"Let us for the time being wait and see. We cannot as yet be able to see what would happen with regard to trade and investment. For the time being we cannot as yet see its impact. We hope the problem there could be immediately settled well," she said after attending the commemoration of the 59th anniversary of the Association of Indonesia Businessmen (Apindo) here on Monday.

Apindo`s general chairman Sofyan Wanandi however reminded the government and businessmen of the importance of anticipating the impact of the political tension in Egypt on economy and trade.

"Now the impact may not yet be felt, but certainly later it will because of the uncertainties that would oil and gas prices. So we must immediately take anticipatory measures," he said.

The chairman of the permanent committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) for the Middle East and the Organization of Islamic Conference, Fachry Thaib, said the impact of the conflict in Egypt must be anticipated.

"Although the impact on us will be small because the volume of our trade with them is very small, it will be dangerous if it spreads to other countries," he said.

Fachry said right now he had heard no confirmed reports about the declining activities in trade with Egypt or the loss Indonesian businessmen had suffered because of the conflict.

He said the conflict in Egypt would possibly have a real effect on exports of several commodities such as crude palm oil, paper and electronics.

According to trade ministry data the country`s total trade with Egypt in 2009 reached US$802.56 million and from January to October 2010 US$890.47 million.

Indonesia`s exports to that country in 2009 reached US$708.81 million and in January-October 2010 US$736.58 million.

Imports from that country in 2009 totaled US$93.75 million and from January to October 2010 US$153.89 million.

Indonesia has always enjoyed a surplus in its trade with Egypt since 2005.(*)

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