Indonesia aims to ride global economic recovery

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Indonesia plans to ride the global economic recovery by intensifying trade and economic negotiations with non traditional markets and deepen its penetration into traditional markets.

In its October 2017 forecast, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected the global economy to grow by 3.6 percent in 2017 and by 3.7 percent in 2018.

The plan is one of the eight focuses of Indonesia’s 2018 foreign policy as laid out by Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Tuesday.

The Foreign Ministry’s director for African affairs, Daniel Tumpal Simandjuntak, said 25 private companies had entered the sub-Saharan African market, where consumer goods, palm oil, garments and pharmaceuticals were in strong demand. Indomie instant noodles, for example, are widely popular in Nigeria. The manufacturer, Indofood Sukses Makmur, has six plants in Africa, including in Egypt, Sudan and Kenya.

“We should increase investment there as other countries have more investment there,” he said, adding that Indonesia has invested only US$5 billion, a platry sum compared to India’s $70 billion or China’s $200 billion.

Having vowed to prioritize and enhance cooperation with “uncharted territories” in 2017, Retno said cooperation with countries in Africa, South and Central Asia, as well as Latin America, had borne fruit as the value of trade with those regions more than doubled.

“A number of Indonesia’s private and state-owned entreprises had successfully penetrated Africa,” she said.

State-owned train maker PT INKA, for example, sold 250 railway cars to Bangladesh and nuclear products maker PT INUKI sold radioisotopes to Mexico.

State-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia sold CN 235 transport aircraft to Mexico and Senegal. Senegalese President Macky Sall is reportedly satisfied with the aircraft’s performance and plans to buy more.

Retno said Indonesia has signed 78 economic agreements with negotiations toward more expected “to make significant progress.” The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Australia and the European Free Trade Area are at their final stage of talks while the CEPA with the EU is still under negotiation.

Indonesia is also negotiating various agreements with Turkey, Peru, the Eurasian Economic Union and several African countries.

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