PH, Indonesia to intensify trade, investment cooperation

THE Philippines and Indonesia are leveraging on their strong cultural, historical, and geographical links to actively pursue a broad range of trade, investment, and cooperative activities for their mutual economic benefit.

The Asean neighbors are currently looking further at strategic ways to promote business-to-business contacts and explore untapped partnership opportunities in various areas, from trade show participation to improving logistics connectivity.

This as the two nations prepare to hold this year the 7th Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Senior Officials for the Implementation of the Philippine-Indonesia MOU on Trade, Investment, Handicrafts and Shipping.

Meetings of the JWG, composed of executives from different government agencies of the Philippines and Indonesia, are held regularly to review and speed up the progress made in recent years toward continued partnership.

At the 6th JWG meeting held in December 2012, the two sides agreed to participate in each other's trade fairs. The Philippines showed its interest in launching business missions to Indonesia's trade exhibits and road shows to promote the products and services of the local food, furniture, garment, automotive, cosmetics, franchising, entertainment, and education sectors.

Indonesia said it was considering an "Asean Corner" at the annual Trade Expo Indonesia to showcase the products of the Philippines and other interested members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The Philippines in turn invited Indonesia to participate in its major international fairs, including Manila FAME and International Food Exhibition.

Both sides are likewise looking at joint efforts to improve air and sea connectivity through capacity expansion and new air and sea routes to facilitate trade and investments.

There are also proposals to develop the fisheries industry along the border areas of the two economies, jointly invest in food and beverage canning factories in Indonesia's North Sulawesi, deepen tie-ups in construction services and furniture production, create an investment promotion taskforce, and form a rice federation among ASEAN's rice-exporting countries.

Additionally, the Philippines requested Indonesia to work out the protocols for the export of beef after several Indonesian importers showed interest in Filipino meat products.

It also sought greater transparency and predictability of Indonesia's regulations on pharmaceutical products to ensure uninterrupted trade.

Indonesia is among the Philippines' major export and import partners. According to statistics from the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion, Indonesia was the country's ninth trading partner in 2012, with total bilateral trade valued at US$3.6 billion or 3.1 percent of the total Philippine global trade of $114.2 billion. Indonesia ranked 12th as the country's export market and ninth as its import source.

Philippine exports to Indonesia in 2012 rose 33.8 percent to $839.6 million, while imports amounted to $2.7 billion, an increase of 12.5 percent. (Philexport)


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