Banten- Indonesia’s Trade Minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, anticipates a 300% annual trade increase with Egypt after signing a preferential trade agreement (PTA), noting that “any trade figure less than $2bn is very low.”
Signing the proposed agreement is likely to take place in 2019, the minister told Daily News Egypt. Furthermore, both Egyptian and Indonesian sides plan for a ministerial visit by Enggartiasto Lukita to Egypt as soon as possible. It will probably be early next year.
On 9 July, the Indonesian ambassador to Egypt, Helmy Fawzy, said that the annual average of bilateral trade records are about $1.5bn, adding that a 10% trade increase is expected by end of 2018.
“Now our ambassador to Egypt is preparing for my visit and contacting Egyptian officials,” said the minister, adding that his country aims at signing an initial PTA, then both countries will discuss a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The minister confirmed that his ministry is implementing the instructions of Indonesian President Joko Widodo, to boost trade and investment cooperation with new potential markets in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia which are not from traditional markets similar to Europe, the US and China.
“Historically, we have very close relations with Egypt, but our bilateral trade volume is too small, that’s why we implemented joint plans to increase the trade exchange,” said Enggartiasto Lukita, noting that Indonesia will start with a PTA and an FTA incremental before signing a full FTA with Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian minister asked his country’s embassy in Egypt to put Egyptian coffee importers in touch with Indonesian coffee exporters, following a complaint of coffee import shortage by the Egyptian businesspersons. This was during a joint meeting on the sidelines of Indonesia’s 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia 2018 in Banten city, near Jakarta, held on 25th and 26th of October.
Moreover, the minister said that Indonesia has a commitment to completely support Palestine, noting that his country is in continuous discussions with Australia, regarding its proposal to move the Australian embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.