Indonesia hopes to revisit pacts with PHL, Mindanao  

THE INDONESIAN government is strengthening its efforts to boost trade ties with the country, especially with Mindanao, where there would be easy transfer of goods beginning the implementation of the sea connectivity from the island to Indonesia next month.

Consul General of Indonesia Berlian Napitupulu said on Friday in the opening ceremony of its three-day Indonesian Food and Beverage Expo (IFBE) at House of Indonesia in Juna Subdivision that their trade relations have only been growing slowly at a rate of 0.41% since five years ago.

The Indonesian government, he said, hoped to increase and bolster their trade ties with the Philippines, which already amounted to $4.5 billion as of last year.

“Our trade with the Philippines is lower compared to the other countries in Southeast Asia. We only ranked nine as Philippines’ trade partner. So, I said to my colleagues that we should do something,” Napitupulu said.

One of their government’s efforts, he said, was the conduct of the first IFBE in the city with 18 Indonesia-based exhibitors, which included business matching with Davao-based enterprises. They also organized Indonesia Culinary Festival at Marco Polo Davao Hotel.

In a statement from the Indonesian Consulate, “Indonesia and the Philippines are bound to increase our economic and trade relations. Geographical border, vast natural resource, competitive markets, and aggressive economic growth, are just few of our potentials and we can tap them to support in materializing this improved relations.”

The Indonesian government further planned to continuously support the city government and stage trade fairs. It also projected that their trade ties would improve with the roll-on/roll-off service from the cities of Davao and General Santos to Bitung in Indonesia starting next month.

The sea route, which will be serviced by Asian Marine Transport Corp., will take 1.5 days from Davao to Bitung using the company’s cargo vessel with a capacity up to 100 twenty-footer equivalent units. The company will charge $700 per twenty-footer equivalent unit.

Mindanao Development Authority Secretary Datu HJ. Abul Khayr Alonto said it is best to capitalize on their partnership with Indonesia to boost economic development in the island.

“This is an opportune time to strengthen ties with Indonesia,” Alonto said.

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