Thursday, August 02, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
To boost bilateral trade between Indonesia and India, the World Trade Center (WTC) Jakarta is holding an exhibition displaying export-quality products from Indonesia's small and medium enterprises (SME), with the focus being on the Indian market.
The three-day exhibition, titled Indian-Indonesian Trade Fiesta 2007, gathers together exporters, traders and businesspeople from both countries with a view to seeking opportunities for cooperation.
Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Navrekha Sharma said that the event would provide a great boost to the two countries' goal of achieving bilateral trade worth US$10 billion by 2010. This goal was agreed on by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the former's visit to India in 2005.
"There has been impressive growth in bilateral trade. The total trade between India and Indonesia in 2004 was $3.2 billion, and it rose to $4.798 billion in 2006, which was a jump of 22 percent over the previous year," Sharma said during the opening ceremony for the exhibition Wednesday.
She said that in 2006, India's exports to Indonesia reached $1.4 billion, and Indonesia's exports to India $3.39 billion, with the balance of trade being in favor of Indonesia.
The ambassador said he saw great potential for an SME partnership between India and Indonesia as people to people contacts were increasing and there were major potentials in the fields of tourism, handicrafts, gems and jewelry, furniture, leather goods, cosmetics and textiles.
"With a middle class of more than 300 million, India is a market waiting to be tapped by Indonesian entrepreneurs, who should be eager to sell many value-added products to Indian consumers," said Sharma.
However, she said that there needed to be an appreciable shift in the trade pattern, which remained heavily reliant on raw and unprocessed materials from Indonesia, if the two countries wanted to put their trade on a sustainable path in the long term.
"Garuda Airlines should be more aggressive about exploiting the growing Indian tourist market, which sends millions of tourists to Southeast Asia every year. We send about 400,000 tourists to Malaysia each year, why not to Indonesia, a much bigger country?" asked Sharma.
Besides displaying products such as garments, fashion, leather goods, herbal products, handicrafts and furniture, the event, which is sponsored by global freight forwarder Damco, will also feature seminars on trade and tourism issues, and a short course on how to become an exporter.(02)