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Indonesia to boost trade relations with S. Africa

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-04-21 11:00:00 – Jakarta

Indonesia’s trade minister, Rachmat Gobel is seeking to increase trade relations with countries and businesses worldwide. At During the first day of the 24th World Economic Forum on East Asia on Sunday he met with several top executives and high-level government leaders.

Trade minister discussed a range of topics in which companies can increase their trade with Indonesia to cooperation on bilateral and multilateral levels. Among the executives and government leaders he also met Heineken International global director Roland Verstappen, South African Trade Minister Rob Davies, Vietnamese Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat and an executive from Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan.

The possibility of a joint trade commission with the South African trade minister was also discussed as he would like to see South Africa as the door for Indonesian products to enter the African market, Rachmat said after a ministerial bilateral meeting in Jakarta on Sunday.

Indonesia and South Africa have been laying out plans to form a trade partnership since 2012, pressing on points such as market access, special economic zones and capacity building for small and medium-sized enterprises, according to Rachmat.

Indonesia’s main exports to South Africa include palm oil, rubber, jewelry and vehicles. On the other hand, Indonesia has mainly imported cotton, pulp, wood and sugar from the African country, according to the minister.

Indonesia exported as much as $1.4 billion to South Africa last year, and imports totaled $486 million, leading to a trade surplus of up to $914 million, according to the trade minister.

The trade ministry wants to triple exports in the next five year with a goal to reach $192.5 billion this year – or up 9 percent from realized export value of $176 billion in 2014.

The minister also met with an executive from Mitsubishi, and Rachmat sought to encourage the Japanese company to expand its garment business in Indonesia through its clothing retailer Uniqlo.

He asked Mitsubishi to increase their export from Indonesia through their garment sector … and they’re actually planning to boost exports significantly going forward. Mitsubishi exported up to $264 million in textiles last year.

According to Rachmat, this year, the Tokyo-based company wants to increase garment exports from Indonesia by 13 percent to $300 million. Rachmat has urged them to triple to at least $700 million by 2019.

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