Last year, in the meeting with President Joko Widodo at the Bogor Palace, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar agreed to increase trade and business cooperation.
During the bilateral meetings the two countries stressed the two areas that would justify mutually-beneficial cooperation, namely, infrastructure development and tourism.
The Indonesian private sector has been working very hard to promote stronger bilateral and cultural relations with Qatar, as well as expanding interests in areas of commerce and industry, while opening up opportunities to Qatar and its Middle East neighbors to be part of Indonesia’s industrial growth.
The Qatar diplomatic crisis began when several countries abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt. The downgrading of relations included ambassadors’ withdrawals, and imposition of trade and travel bans.
The crisis may provide opportunities for Indonesian companies, as Qatar seeks trade and business partnerships formerly filled by neighbors, according to Mohamad Bawazeer, Vice Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Permanent Committee on the Middle East & OIC countries.
Trade between Indonesia and Qatar reached $900 million in 2016. While Indonesia mainly imports oil from Qatar, the Southeast Asian country exported automotive products, textiles, footwear and furniture to the Gulf nation.
“We from the private sector want Qatar to not only rely on cooperation in the trade sector, but also to become a partner in investment. Our opportunities with Qatar are great, especially before 2022, when Qatar hosts the World Cup,” said Bawazeer.
Currently, Qatar has a large investment in one of Indonesia’s largest telecommunications companies, namely PT Indosat Ooredo Tbk (IDX: ISAT). The company offers both prepaid and post-paid mobile phone services, fixed voice services, fixed wireless and fixed telephone services.
The Middle Eastern nation is also a presence in Indonesia’s banking sector, through ownership of PT Bank QNB Indonesia Tbk (IDX: BKSW). Therefore, according to him it is only natural for these consumers that the Qatari Government, which has served Indonesia greatly with banking and telecommunications services, should also cooperate with modern housing for families.