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Jakarta Post
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Trade Ministry to prioritize Middle East market

  • Ayomi Amindoni

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, January 10 2016 | 05:08 pm
Middle east market: President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visits Middle Eastern countries namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Jokowi stated that the trip, began on Sept. 11, aimed to strengthen bilateral cooperation with a focus on the economy, energy sustainability, protection for Indonesian citizens and strategic industries. (Antara)

Middle east market: President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo visits Middle Eastern countries namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Jokowi stated that the trip, began on Sept. 11, aimed to strengthen bilateral cooperation with a focus on the economy, energy sustainability, protection for Indonesian citizens and strategic industries. (Antara)

Amid slow economic growth in Indonesia'€™s main export markets, the Trade Ministry has announced plans to specifically approach alternative markets, especially in the Middle East, with increased promotion events and improved export services.

The Trade Ministry'€™s director general for national export development, Nus Nuzulia Ishak, said in 2016 the focus in the Middle East would be on countries that President Joko '€œJokowo'€ Widodo had visited, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"We will expand exports to Middle East countries by making Dubai our trade hub,'€ she told TheJakartaPost.com on Saturday, admitting, however, that '€œthe economic situation in Saudi Arabia is quite [difficult], as they have lost 70 percent of their oil revenue."

Products that could be shipped to the new destinations, Nus said, included automotive products, crude palm oil and textile goods.

According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the cumulative value of Indonesian exports from January to November 2015 reached US$138.42 billion, down 14 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Exports to China fell by 20.5 percent to $12 billion, while those to Japan were down 10.5 percent at $11.9 billion. This allowed the US, to which Indonesian exports fell by just 2.8 percent to $13 billion, overtake China and Japan to become Indonesia'€™s largest export market in the first eleven months of last year.

'€œThe economic slowdown in China has reduced demand for our products," she said, adding that Europe and the US were likely to be the main export destinations for Indonesia in 2016.

According to her, CPO, footwear, textiles and textile products, chemical products, furniture and processed woods were among the main products exported to these destinations.

The government also aims to boost the exports of value-added products, such as jewelry, and products based on cocoa and spices.

"For example, we now export spices in the form of seasoning oil. Five years ago, we had an excessive amount of [unprocessed] cocoa beans in our exports, and now we export a bigger amount of cocoa powder, bringing the processed-cocoa export to 80 percent [of the total cocoa export]," she explained.

According to BPS data, 2015 jewelry exports reached $5.2 billion in the January-to-November period, rising by 25.5 percent from to the same period in 2014. Footwear exports reached $4.1 billion, up 10.5 percent. (ags)

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