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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Indonesia steps up trade engagement with Egypt to access larger African market

Indonesia steps up trade engagement with Egypt to access larger African market

Indonesia is increasing its trade engagement with Egypt as a gateway for exports to other African countries, its trade minister said on Thursday, following an official trip to Cairo.
Zulkifli Hasan led a trade delegation to the North African country this week as Jakarta seeks to explore export potential in non-traditional markets on the continent.

“(Egypt) is a gateway country to access other African countries,” Hasan told Arab News. “The trip to Egypt was smooth and successful as it strengthened relations between the two countries.”

During his trip Hasan held talks with Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir with whom he signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint trade committee with the aim of boosting commercial relations.

Hasan said Indonesia wanted meetings under the committee to take place soon so the two countries could “start identifying and discussing bilateral issues.”

“We both agreed that bilateral trade is not yet optimal and there is a need to find breakthroughs,” he said.

“We also agreed that the JTC will be the first step to discuss an Indonesia-Egypt PTA, which we hope will further boost trade relations between our two countries.”

A preferential trade agreement would stimulate trade by reducing or eliminating tax duties on certain goods.

Two-way trade between the countries totaled $1.57 billion last year, with palm oil, coffee beans and coconut oil being Indonesia’s main exports to Egypt.

Coffee beans were in high demand in the North African nation, Hasan said, making the sector a potential growth market for Indonesian exporters.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth-largest coffee producer, accounting for about 7 percent, and the second largest in Asia, after Vietnam.

Also during Hasan’s visit, Indonesian and Egyptian businesses signed preliminary agreements with a potential value of more than $865 million.

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