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Jokowi, Saudi Crown Prince MBS Discuss ISA-CEPA and RI-GCC, Says Trade Minister

TEMPO.CO | 20 October 2023

Jokowi, Saudi Crown Prince MBS Discuss ISA-CEPA and RI-GCC, Says Trade Minister

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan or Zulhas accompanied President Joko Jokowi Widodo in a bilateral meeting with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, October 19, 2023.

Zulhas said one of the topics discussed at the meeting was the formation of the negotiating team for the Indonesia-Saudi Arabia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (ISA-CEPA).

“ISA-CEPA will serve as the basic framework to achieve a more balanced bilateral trade balance,” Zulhas said in a press statement on Friday, October 20, 2023.

In addition, Indonesia is pushing for the acceleration of negotiations on the Indonesia–Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Economic Partnership Agreement to kick off at the end of this year. “Some measures have been taken. Indonesia has sent the terms of reference (TOR), joint statement, proposed date, and rundown of the launch of the IGCC – EPA, but the start of the negotiations is still delayed,” Zulhas said.

Zulhas said Saudi is the largest market in the Middle East region and the Gulf Cooperation Council. Saudi is Indonesia’s 23rd export destination and 10th source of imports.

Based on the Trade Ministry’s data, the total trade volume between Indonesia and Saudi in the January-August 2023 period was recorded at US$3.80 billion. Of this value, Indonesia’s exports to Saudi amounted to US$1.39 billion. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s imports from Saudi reached US$2.41 billion.

Zulhas said the essence of the meeting was to discuss the strengthening relations between the two countries in various fields. “The meeting went very well and positively, even several proposals from President Jokowi were quickly responded to. These include cooperation in trade, investment, and increasing the number of Hajj quotas,” he explained.

Other ministers accompanying Jokowi were Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, State-Owned Enterprises or SOE Minister and Ad Interim Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Erick Thohir, Youth and Sports Minister Dito Ariotedjo, as well as Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

Yohanes Maharso Joharsoyo

 source: TEMPO.CO