PTA with Indonesia to boost bilateral trade

Karachi: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry KCCI President Muhammad Haroon Agar has said that implementation of Pakistan-Indonesia Preferential Trade Agreement PTA will open new chapters of economic and commercial cooperation.

Talking to Indonesian Consul General Rossalis R. Adenan who visited the KCCI here he said the Preferential Trade Agreement PTA will bring closure the business communities of both countries and will give a strong boost to the bilateral trade ties. Pak Indonesia bilateral trade could escalate up to US Dollar 2 Billion in coming years from the trade volume in year 2011 stood to around $1.2 Billion US Dollars.

Indonesia would be able to increase its export of crude palm oil to Pakistan whereas Pakistan can export to Indonesia its value added textiles, carpets, fabrics, leather and export goods, chemicals, surgical etc.

He also enlightened the Consul General about the key role of Karachi Chamber in the socioeconomic development of Pakistan and informed about the aims of KCCI to develop regional trade. He urged the Consul General to suggest and convince the Jakarta Chamber to form joint Chamber with KCCI on the pattern of Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber which KCCI formed last year. He extended invitation to Consul General to invite Indonesian Exhibitors in My-Karachi Exhibition 2013 and also organize a cultural event on that occasion.

The Indonesian Consul General on the occasion extended warmest and sincerest felicitation to Mr. Agar for his presidency of KCCI and hoped the relations and cooperation between KCCI and Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi will be further strengthened in the years ahead. He emphasized that Indonesia and Pakistan are brotherly countries that have been enjoying excellent and longstanding relations that have been transformed into a multifaceted and mutually rewarding partnership encompassing all field of interests.

He mentioned what the Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi has been carrying out in promoting bilateral economic, trade, social and cultural cooperation, including organizing Indonesian Products Solo Exhibition and Cultural Performance in Karachi and other cities in Sindh Province, such as Sukkur and Hyderabad, which he believes as an important contribution to increase the bilateral trade volume of the two countries. He reiterated the fact that Pakistan and Indonesia have some similarities and huge potentials, not only in economic and trade but also in socio-culture.

The Indonesian Consul General shortly elaborated the development that has been achieved by Indonesia after its independence sixty seven years ago, characterized by remarkable progress and significant achievement in political, economic, social and cultural sectors. He said that Indonesia’s economy, which represents 40 percent of ASEAN’s aggregate economy, is projected to grow by 6 to 6.5 per cent in 2012. According to the UNCTAD, Indonesia is one of the top ten most attractive FDI destinations in the 20102012. He further said that with the population of more than 240 million, 50 million of which are middleclass, Indonesia under the dynamic leadership of President Susilo Bamband Yudhoyono, has made steady progress at every front.

He further mentioned that Indonesia’s economy has proven resilient to the global slowdown as it is driven by soaring investment and strong domestic consumption by its population of 240 million. He shared about Indonesian government economic policy which implementing, among others, prudent fiscal policy through efficient budget; increasing revenue from export; improving the quality of domestic economic infrastructure; fighting against corruption and strengthening law enforcement. He further explained that Indonesia’s economy is predicted to be better in the years ahead as it has, among others, stable economic growth in the last few years; less dependence on natural resources; and more that 60% of economic growth supported by productivity improvement.

Touching upon the bilateral economic relations between Indonesia and Pakistan, he reiterated that the bilateral trade relations has been fluctuated but increased. In 2011, it is recorded US$ 1.2 billion which is still far below the real potentials. He also mentioned about the Preferential Trade Agreement PTA of the two countries that was signed in Jakarta in February 2012. He stated that Indonesia has already ratified the PTA on 19 November 2012 and hopefully that the two governments will soon decide the time for the PTA to enter into force.

The Consul General also mentioned that during the D8 Summit in Islamabad November 2012, the Indonesian Trade Minister met his Pakistani counterpart and discussed some bilateral issues, including the PTA which is hoped to be implemented soon and the common efforts to expand the scope of the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement CEPA and to gradually decrease the bilateral trade barriers. By implementing the PTA, it is hoped that the bilateral volume will be doubled or redoubled in the near coming years.