Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi receives a visit from Indian Foreign Minister Y.M. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the Pancasila Building, Thursday (9/5) - Photo by kemenlu.go.id
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Jakarta - Photo by Foreign Ministry

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia and India reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the target trade value to reach US$50 billion in 2025, from $20 billion currently. One way to achieve the target is to open the widest market access for each country.

The commitment was conveyed by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar during a bilateral meeting in Jakarta on Thursday (09/5).

“In addition to oil palm, Indonesia is also proposing broad market access to India for other products from Indonesia,” said Marsudi at the ministry’s office.

Previously, President Joko Widodo in a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed the importance of the two countries to eliminate trade barriers, both tariff and non-tariff.

In a meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G-20) Summit in Osaka, Japan last June, President Widodo specifically asked PM Modi to pay attention to the implementation of new import tariffs on Indonesian palm oil exports in early January 2019.

President Widodo said the trade ministers of the two countries need to continue discussions in order to reach a win-win solution, including proposals for the trade-off of palm oil with other commodities.

Responding to this request, Jaishankar said he was ready to work with Indonesia to create a balanced and sustainable trade by providing greater market access for Indonesian goods and services.

“We agree that the two countries will be responsive to the needs of other parties in that context (achieving trade targets),” said Jaishankar.

He continues, “Indonesia is India’ largest trading partner in the Southeast Asia region. Our bilateral trade passed $20 billion last year,” he said.

According to him, rhere is an immediate urgency to overcome the trade deficit and look at the means to achieve a more balanced trade basket through greater and more diverse exports. Jaishankar stated, “We aim to achieve this by expanding bilateral trade.”

At present, India is the world’s largest importer of crude palm oil (CPO), one of which is from Indonesia.¬†Jaishankar further said that it was very important for large developing countries like India and Indonesia to join hands and forge collaborative partnerships so that the two countries were quite prepared to do so to face the challenges of the global economy.

He continued, that a sizable presence of Indian industry in Indonesia was spread across sectors such as energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, textiles, banking, and Information Technology services.

“I really hope that with the commencement of the operation of the Jakarta’ representative office, the Indian industry will find an ideal platform to engage more proactively and sustainably with Indonesian counterparts. Likewise, Indonesian entrepreneurs can also use the office to get more information and as a channel to create business partnerships,” he ended.

Written by Marcel Gual, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com