FAISALABAD,: A steep decline of minus 4% in the Indonesian growth is expected due to COVID-19 and there was dire need to join hands with brotherly countries to revive the national economies immediately.
This was stressed by Mr Iwan Suyudhie Amri, ambassador of Indonesia, while addressing a zoon conference with the office-bearers of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & industry (FCCI) here on Friday. He said that Indonesia was closely observing the World Health Organisation (WHO) situation reports on COVID-19 pandemic around the world.
He invited the FCCI office-bearers to visit Indonesian embassy and discuss issues related to bilateral trade. About starting direct flights from Jakarta to Lahore or Karachi, he said that he would take up the issue with the ministries concerned. However, he added, such flights were not viable financially in the prevailing circumstances.
Earlier addressing the zoom meeting, FCCI President Rana Sikandar Azam Khan said that Pakistan and Indonesia should transform their cordial relations into enhanced bilateral trade, investment and joint ventures.
Appreciating the recent economic rise of Indonesia, he said that both the countries had many similarities in their demographics, and the bilateral trade could easily be enhanced to US$5 billion from its current level of about $2.32 billion in 2019. “Pakistani exports to Indonesia are US$146 million, compared to Indonesia exports to Pakistan of US$2222 million,” he said and added that thus the balance of trade was in favour of Indonesia.
He said that Pakistan and Indonesia had signed a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in 2012 and as a result of that the bilateral trade improved from $1.58 billion in 2011-12 to $2.32 billion in 2019. “It is good to note that both the countries are heading towards Free Trade Agreement, which needs to be further paced up,” he added.
He said Pakistan could help Indonesia expand its trade to the landlocked Central Asian Republics, China, India and Middle East. Similarly Indonesia, being member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), could provide easy access to Pakistan for over $2 trillion ASEAN market.