The Jakarta Post | March 25 2015
Pakistan aims for FTA with Indonesia to further boost trade
Pakistan is aiming to start negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Indonesia sometime this year, to expand on the current preferential trade agreement (PTA), which began in 2013.
As a result of the PTA, which had been mooted between Pakistan and Indonesia since 2008, bilateral trade rose dramatically from around US$1.1 billion in 2013 to $2.2 billion in 2014. Pakistan’s charge d’affaires to Indonesia Syed Zahid Reza explained that his country was aiming for a 25 percent rise in trade figures by the end of 2015.
“With a free trade agreement, Indonesia will also have easier access to Central Asian trade markets, using Pakistan as a transit point, which will benefit them as well,” Syed told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 75th Pakistan National Day celebration event at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Kuningan, South Jakarta.
He explained that a major slice of Indonesian exports to Pakistan came from palm oil, as Pakistan was one of the world’s largest buyers of Indonesian palm oil.
With Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly confirmed his attendance at the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Asia-Africa Summit in Bandung in April, Syed hopes that relations and cooperation will be further strengthened after the PM’s visit.
He added that people-to-people relations between the two countries would also be improved further, with cooperation on think tanks and education being part of the plan.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir told the Post of his hopes that Pakistani businesspeople would take part in the upcoming Asia-Africa Business Summit in Jakarta in April. A business delegation from Pakistan will reportedly join Nawaz on his visit to Indonesia.
He went on that due to Pakistan’s major role in the original 1955 Asia-Africa Summit as co-organizer, the visit of Nawaz would be of great significance. (nvn)