Pakistan -Indonesia Free Trade Agreement in two years time, says Ambassador

Lahore, October 10, 2013 (PPI-OT): Indonesian Ambassador to Pakistan Muhammad Burhan Muhammad has said that the signing of Pakistan-Indonesia PTA has paved way for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that is likely in about 24 months time. “We will take further steps to broaden economic integration by initiating negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).”

The Indonesian Ambassador was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari presented Address of Welcome while Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, former President Mian Anjum Nisar, former Vice President Saeeda Nazar, Executive Committee members Zafar Mehmood, Maqsood Ahmad Butt, Tasharraf Javaid and Raja Hamid Riaz also spoke on the occasion. The Ambassador said that serious efforts are being made to enhance the volume of two- way trade between Pakistan and Indonesia.

He said that Indonesia’s economy, which represents 40 percent of ASEAN’s aggregate economy, is projected to grow at a faster pace in coming years. He said that Indonesia is an attractive investment destination for many reasons therefore Pakistani businessmen should avail the available opportunities and they should enhance their interaction with their counterparts in Indonesia.

One-on one meetings always pave way for greater business therefore the private sector in Pakistan should visit Indonesia while he would also bring a business delegation to Pakistan, the Ambassador added.

He said that Jakarta Chamber of Commerce and Industry is going to ink an MoU with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 22nd of this month and after that another MoU would be signed with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that Free Trade Agreement negotiations in near future are necessary to draw beneficial results from PTA. He said that Pakistan’s share in two-way trade is much lesser than that of Indonesia but it is a good omen that the two countries are on the right track.

The LCCI President said that under the PTA, Indonesia has included various Pakistani products in offer list including fresh fruits, cotton yarn, cotton fabrics, readymade garments, electric fans, sports goods, leather goods and other industrial products. Indonesia has also offered market access to kinnow from Pakistan at zero percent, which will provide a level-playing field to this product in the Indonesian market.

Similarly, Pakistan’s offer list to Indonesia under the agreement includes a total of 287 tariff lines for market access at preferential tariff. Pakistan also agreed to provide the same treatment on palm oil products from Indonesia as provided to Malaysia under Pakistan-Malaysia FTA.

He said that there is also a lot of scope for Indonesia to make investment in Pakistan. Indonesia has a fairly advanced petro-chemical, rubber, plywood, telecommunication and tourism industry. Indonesia can make direct investment in these industries and can also enter into joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts.

It is, therefore, proposed that these potential areas should be studied and monitored by the commercial sections of diplomatic missions for promoting trade and investment between the two countries. And this is possible through active engagement of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the two countries, frequent exchange of economic and trade delegations to identify the areas of mutual interest and arranging single country exhibitions in each other’s country. He said that the LCCI really appreciates the Indonesian Embassy for maintaining excellent working relations which also contribute in enhancing trade ties between two countries.

Indonesia and Pakistan – members of OIC, are bonded together by old historical links and enjoy cordial relations based on commonality of religion. He said that Indonesia having population size of around 240 million is the most populous country of Muslim Ummah while Pakistan comes at second place.

Our two countries together have a population of over 420 million. It fairly hints about the available size of market for each other. With such a huge size of manpower, both the sides need to harness this resource by embarking upon labour intensive ventures. For that matter government to government and private sector to private sector interaction can play effective role.

Pakistan’s major exports to Indonesia include cotton, maize, cotton fabric, wheat, leather and cotton yarn etc. And imports are: palm oil, coal, nuts, artificial staple fibres, silver, paper and yarn of synthetic fibre etc.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

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