Indonesian Embassy, PBC discuss COVID-19 impacts

ISLAMABAD: Though, COVID 19 continues to play havoc with human lives and global economies, nevertheless, simultaneously the damage control efforts are also in full swing to minimize the devastating socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. To contain and fight off the financial downturn the friendly nations through consultations are identifying ways for mutual cooperation for the enhanced sustainable economic activities between them.

With the same spirit, the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad organized a virtual meeting with the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) which is headquartered in the Pakistani economic hub of Karachi. It represents country’s leading Corporate and Business Groups and as an advocacy forum work to improve the general business environment of the country. Through its research projects, it also provides valuable input to the Government of Pakistan for bilateral agreements such as the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and other countries.

The Indonesian Ambassador Iwan S. Amri and the Indonesian Consul General in Karachi Totok Prianamto attended the virtual meeting. The Indonesian Embassy has always worked closely with PBC and this time the meeting was aimed at discussing and evaluating the bilateral economic and trade situation arising out of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Speaking on the occasion, Indonesian Ambassador Iwan Suyudhie Amri highlighted the current issues concerning the bilateral economic cooperation between the countries and stressed on the significance of fostering the sustainable bilateral trade relations. “Indonesia and Pakistan must work together for the sustainable trade relations between them,” Ambassador Iwan Amri observed.

The Envoy believed that the concerted communication and consultations with the PBC and other stakeholders in Pakistan will certainly build greater confidence and improve environment for the both countries to uplift business, economic and other aspects of the bilateral ties.

“We would like to encourage and elevate bilateral trade and overall economic cooperation between the two countries that was sustainable, equitable and mutually beneficial corresponding to their respective supply &demand potential,” remarked Ambassador Iwan Amri.

Pakistan Business Council’s CEO Ehsan Ali Malik, in his remarks, reciprocated Ambassador’s views and highly commended the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad and the Indonesian Consulate General in Karachi for their timely initiative and being persistent towards optimization of cooperation with Pakistan in various potential spheres.

Ehsan Ali Malik said that with the realization of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) strategic project the economic outlook in Pakistan was way more dynamic. He expressed his confidence that CPEC projects offered Indonesia a great opportunity to increase its economic cooperation and investment in Pakistan.

Ambassador Iwan Amri noted with pleasure that Indonesia’s trade relations with Pakistan have been on upward trajectory. The total trade value between Indonesia and Pakistan in 2019 reached USD 2.3 billion with surplus of USD 1.6 billion favoring Indonesia. While shedding some light on the research carried out by the Embassy, the Ambassador hoped that the PBC could play its vital role towards making Pakistan the hub of Indonesia’s palm oil business to Central Asia and the Middle East.

The successful implementation of the Indonesia-Pakistan Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in 2013 opened the door for the Indonesia’s superior and competitive products in the Pakistani market such as palm oil and its derivatives, viscos rayon materials, coal, polyester, paper, rubber, motor vehicle parts, tractor accessories, clove, broom, brush, vein chloride and others products.

Following the establishment of concrete trade cooperation within the PTA framework, currently the two countries were moving towards the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) within the framework of the Trade in Goods Agreement (TIGA).

On the occasion, PBC’s CEO, Ehsan Ali Malik lauded the Indonesian Government’s policies that created an investment friendly climate in the country and have been very successful in attracting foreign investors. “We would like to learn from Indonesia’s success story in encouraging the relocation of multinationals and other large companies for instance from the US and Japan to Indonesia.

Tourism sector, people to people contacts and removing non-tariff barriers for bilateral trade were among other issues that also came under discussion at the meeting.

The successful two-hour long wide-ranging virtual meeting concluded with the Indonesian Embassy in Islamabad and the Pakistan Business Council agreeing to continue to work together by means of mutual consultations and sharing of the information about existing and emerging economic opportunities and potential business cooperation that can be focused and capitalized by Indonesia and Pakistan,” concluded Ambassador Iwan Amri.

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