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India, Indonesia agree to nearly triple bilateral trade to USD

Jakarta: India and Indonesia have agreed to double their efforts to boost bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday after holding comprehensive talks with President Joko Widodo.

Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Jakarta on his first-ever official visit to Indonesia, exchanged views with President Widodo on potential areas of cooperation in areas like defence, maritime security, trade and economy.

In a joint press statement after the talks, Modi said India and Indonesia have agreed to upgrade their ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

He said India and Indonesia have agreed to double their efforts to take bilateral trade to USD 50 billion by 2025. According to Indonesia’s Central Statistics Agency (BPS), trade between the two countries in 2016 was USD 12.9 billion. It rose 28.7 per cent to USD 18.13 billion in 2017 with Indonesia’s exports to India reaching USD 14.08 billion and its imports from India standing at USD 4.05 billion. In a joint statement issued after the talks, the two countries said they have agreed to work intensively for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and reiterated that it needs to be comprehensive, fair and balanced with benefit to all member states.

The two leaders also instructed officials to optimise the cooperation between ASEAN and India for establishing a sustainable and mutually beneficial trade relations.

They also acknowledged the need to further explore the untapped economic potentials and to remove impediments to trade and investment. Both sides agreed that there are considerable potentials for expanding trade and services in various areas.

Modi and Widodo also welcomed the conclusion of the MoU between Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and appreciated the setting up of a CII office in Jakarta.

President Widodo welcomed the increase in Indian investments in Indonesia and appreciated their contribution to the Indonesian economy.

Prime Minister Modi also welcomed Indonesian companies’ participation through the “Make in India” initiative and invited Indonesian business to avail of the opportunities presented, the joint statement said.

They also shared their views on the importance of intensifying infrastructure development in both countries and the mutual benefit of enhancing infrastructure development cooperation. They welcomed the signing of the MoU on health cooperation that would pave the way for closer collaboration in tackling common health challenges.

They noted that there were considerable cooperation opportunities in health and pharmaceutical sector. The two leaders further directed for the convening of a meeting in second half of 2018 comprising of health officials, drug regulators and industry representatives to develop a road map on health cooperation. They underscored the important role palm oil plays in Indonesia’s export to India and in India’s consumer preference and growing consumption.

Both leaders agreed to address all issues related to obstacles to trade and investment in palm oil products and industries, the joint statement said.