Indonesia has decided to import rice and sugar from India, as a move to cut the trade deficit between the two sides countries and push trade volume to US$50 billion by 2025 - Photo by Trade Ministry

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia has decided to import sugar and rice from India, as a move to cut the trade deficit between the two sides countries and push trade volume to US$50 billion by 2025, officials said today (09/17). The need for 1.4 million tons of raw sugar that was previously imported from Australia and Thailand was transferred to India.

“This does not add to imports, only the source of imports has changed, so it has been diverted. Like raw sugar, which was originally met by industrial needs imported from Thailand and Australia, now from India,” Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution toldĀ reporters in Jakarta.

This year, the quota of raw sugar imports set by the government reached 2.8 million tons. The realization is intended for 11 companies such as PT Angels Products, PT Jawamanis Rafinasi, PT Sentra Usahatama Jaya, PT Permata Dunia Sukses Utama and PT Dharmapala Usaha Sukses, PT Sugar Labinta, PT Duta Sugar International, PT Makassar Tene, PT Berkah Manis Makmur, PT Andalan Furnindo, and PT Medan Sugar Industry.

It said the bilateral trade is currently in favor of Indonesia and export of sugar and rice from India will help to bridge trade deficit. The decision to import from Indian is understood to have been taken by Indonesia in the backdrop of India providing level playing field to its palm oil by charging the same duties on Malaysian palm oil.

Nasution said it was in return of the agreement by India of similar tariffs on the import of palm oil and its derivatives from Indonesia and Malaysia. On the other hand, India also made Indonesia a priority country for importing oil palm into the country.

Previously, India applied a lower import duty on Malaysian palm oil by 45 percent, while Indonesia by 50 percent. This happened since January 1, 2019, because the two countries have a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. He believes this will encourage palm oil exports that reach $3.62 billion last year. In the next six months, it is estimated to have increased by $500 million, he adds.

On late Monday, Embassy of India in Jakarta, in partnership with the Indonesian Trade Ministry, jointly hosted a Multi-Product Road Show, focusing on exports of Bovine Meat, Rice and Sugar from India to Indonesia, the press release read.

The event was attended by 40 member trade promotion delegation led by Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman of the Agricultural Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an apex body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, also participated. The business delegation of APEDA comprised of senior representatives of Indian Agro Industry from key commodities of rice, sugar and bovine meat.

It said, during the first leg of the visit to Jakarta, a bilateral meeting session was held, which was followed by a Business Seminar, which was inaugurated by Indonesian trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita. It was attended by senior officials of the Ministry, Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesian meat producers/importers associations, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, State Procurement/Logistics Agencies, private import houses, and retailers.

Ambassador of India Pradeep Kumar Rawat in his opening address reiterated the target of $50 billion set for bilateral trade, to be achieved by 2025 and urged the participant companies of both countries to explore means to diversify trade basket through focused items such as bovine meat, sugar, and rice.

In his inaugural address at the event, Lukita welcomed the Indian Trade Delegation and expressed the hope that the multi-product roadshow would lead to greater synergies in trade between the two sides.

Bilateral trade between India and Indonesia during 2018-2019 was $21.11 billion and in the context of achieving the target of $50 billion set by the leaders of both countries.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com