JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Indonesian and Philippine government have agreed to review trade and investment policies including the implementation of the Special Agricultural Safeguard (SSG) for Indonesian instant coffee products which the Philippines has been implementing since August 2018, said senior minister in a written statement today (04/02).

According to Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita, the agreement aims to strengthen trade and investment relations to expand market access for both export products of the two countries.

“The Philippine government has agreed to review trade and investment policies including the implementation of the SSG. Furthermore, the two countries will discuss internally with their respective agencies,” he said.

The agreement was reached at a bilateral meeting between Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita and Philippine Minister of Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez and Philippine Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Pinol in Manila, Philippines, on Monday (04/01).

Lukita explained, instant coffee products (HS 21011110) Indonesia, based on Indonesia Statistics data, were the fourth largest export product for Indonesia in 2018 with an export value of US $367.4 million. Overall for beverage food products amounting to $600 million.

“Instant coffee is one of Indonesia’s leading export products to the Philippines and contributes to foreign exchange for Indonesia. For this reason, our job is to secure market access for superior products in Indonesia, including instant coffee to export destinations,” Lukita said.

In addition, Indonesia and the Philippines also agreed to reactivate the Joint Working Group (JWG) to discuss bilateral trade issues between the two countries. In the near future there will also be a Technical Working Group on Palm together with the Philippines and Malaysia.

“It is hoped that this JWG will be able to produce practical solutions and can facilitate the resolution of issues of concern to businesses in both countries. In line with these objectives, we also propose the implementation of a business forum and an assessment of business matching every year, “he said.

At the meeting, Lukita also conveyed that Indonesia had fulfilled its commitment to overcome the matters of concern to the Philippines in the agricultural sector, by revoking the application of anti-dumping duties for Cavendish bananas, and issuing recognition in several regions in the Philippines as pest-free areas for bananas.

“Indonesia has also revised the provisions concerning the registration of testing laboratories for fresh food safety from Philippine plants,” he continued.

Lukita explained, one of Indonesia’s largest manufacturing industries, Mayora Group has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the purchase of coconuts and derivatives with several Philippine companies and investment plans for the company in the Philippines.

“Hopefully, this trade agreement can provide benefits for both countries,” he said.

It was reported, in 2018, the total bilateral trade between Indonesia and the Philippines reached $7.7 billion, with Indonesia’s export value of $6.8 billion and Indonesia’s imports of $900 million.

As of January 2019, the trade balance surplus was recorded at $465.24 million, an increase of 19.28 percent compared to the surplus in January 2018.

Written by Daniel Deha, Email: daniel@theinsiderstories.com