Indonesia to help Pakistan become ASEAN dialogue partner

 Indonesian ambassador Adam Mulawarman Tugio on Saturday extended support to Pakistan to obtain full dialogue partner status with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which could provide huge economic opportunities for Pakistan.

Pakistan will be able to be accepted as a full dialogue partner status and it will increase political, commercial, and economic links with ASEAN member states, ” Adam Mulawarman Tugio, Indonesian ambassador told APP in an interview.

The ambassador said there were two approaches for achieving the goal; first through an institutional process, while the second was that existing bilateral policy between Pakistan and individual ASEAN member countries need to be addressed through bilateral approach.

On the institutional approach ASEAN and Pakistan had already adopted the action plan, he said, adding that there were 11 areas of importance in which Pakistan and ASEAN countries could work together and one of the areas was trade and investment.

The second, he said, was related to using bilateral approach such as Pakistan could build bilateral relations with Indonesia and other ASEAN member countries.

He further stated that Pakistan had vast potential to increase its exports to Indonesia, mainly textile, garments, leather products, surgical instruments, and fruits.

It is pertinent to mention here that the current bilateral trade between Indonesia and Pakistan is around $2.6 billion; with balance of trade heavily in favor of Indonesia.

Answering a question related to trade imbalance between both the countries, the ambassador said the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries had enhanced Pakistan’s exports to Indonesia while in future, by signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), trade on both sides could be further enhanced.

On Indonesian investment in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said two Indonesian companies were already investing in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Faisalabad (Allama Iqbal Industrial City) and Thatta, Sindh Dhabeji Special Economic Zone.

He envisaged that CPEC project would emerge as a game-changer for the entire region through connectivity to Central Asia and Western China.

“Indonesia can also provide coal to power projects being established under CPEC and the domestic large-scale real estate and manufacturing sector.”

He further said Pakistan and Indonesia had ample opportunities for cooperation in tourism as both sides could introduce new dimensions in promoting mutual tourism.

Talking about culture, he said there was considerable similarity between the food and culture of both countries. “The two countries already have a suitable mechanism for political coordination, economic and defense cooperation, and events on social and cultural affairs,” he added.

He said Halal food had enormous potential from a financial perspective, but if the member states do not focus on it, the OIC market could be exploited by non-OIC countries.

The ambassador said Indonesia had opened doors for tourism and there was no quarantine time for fully vaccinated visitors.

He informed that Indonesian government had received agreements from relevant authorities in Pakistan to start direct flights from Pakistan to Indonesia, which would further promote people to people contacts, tourism, and business opportunities in the two countries.

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