Biggest-ever trade expo opens its doors
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The 27th Trade Expo Indonesia began at the Jakarta International Expo in Kemayoran on Wednesday with local businesspeople expecting to attract a sizeable number of new overseas buyers amid the decline in the country’s exports.
Speaking during the opening of Indonesia’s biggest-ever trade expo, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono underlined the important role of exports as a key driver of the economy, saying that exports should be well-maintained despite contagion from the protracted global economic recovery.
In order to sustain export growth, local manufacturers needed to boost their competitive edges by promoting higher productivity and efficiency and adopting new innovative techniques, Yudhoyono said, adding that the government played a role in providing better infrastructure and logistics to support a more efficient supply chain.
The annual expo, which runs until Sunday, is poised to generate US$2 billion in transactions from goods purchases and services contracts, more than three times higher than last year.
Around 5,300 buyers from 100 countries are registered to attend the expo, which will also feature a trade investment forum, regional seminar and business matches.
At least 1,300 exhibitors are displaying a wide array of local best-quality products from small, medium and large enterprises, including automotive, electronics, food and beverage, footwear, furniture, jewelry, fashion, handicrafts and traditional home goods.
Buoyed by a higher-than-expected number of potential buyers visiting the expo, Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan expressed optimism about reaching the transaction target.
“We identified this ambitious target based on enthusiasm from sellers and buyers. We anticipated 1,500 buyers but had 5,300 buyers register,” he said.
The significant amount of visitors to the expo was positive for the prospects of Indonesia’s exports in the coming months, Gita added.
Indonesia is struggling with a significant drop in demand for its goods amid faltering world economic growth. During January to August, exports plunged by 5.58 percent to $127.17 billion, while imports rose by 10.28 percent in the same period to $126.67 billion. Due to the imbalance, the trade surplus sharply fell to $500 million from $19.82 billion a year earlier.
The government has intensified its market diversification push, turning its gaze to emerging economies in the southern hemisphere.
Part of the efforts seem reflected in the composition of buyers, of which around 70 percent are from non-traditional markets in the Middle East, Africa and South America.
A Nigerian business delegation, comprised of 225 buyers was searching for local manufacturers who could sell various products from agricultural to manufactured goods, as well as for potential investors.
Toni Ogunbor, the chairman of Nosak Group, a major manufacturing firm in Nigeria, said that in the expo he was trying to find a palm oil supplier for a refinery that the group was constructing in his country.
“As our factory starts operations next year, we want to secure a palm oil supply from Indonesian producers. We will need between 10,000 and 15,000 tons per quarter to make cooking oil,” he told The Jakarta Post during a business negotiation with a potential local business partner.