The Jakarta Post
Indonesia plans to boost the shipment of high added-value products to Oman, its non-traditional export destination, in a bid to tap into enormous opportunities provided by the growing Middle East market.
The Trade Ministry's export development cooperation director, Dody Edward, said Wednesday that the shipments would include cosmetics, jewelry, furniture, Muslim fashion items and halal-certified products.
'We've found no major barrier to selling our products to Oman. That's why we should increase our exports there,' he told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a buying mission attended by an Omani business delegation comprising 24 importers.
Dody further said that his office expected exports to rebound to nearly US$240 million, a level reached in 2012. Up to present, the country of around 4 million people has served as a fast-growing market for Indonesian exporters as revealed by Trade Ministry statistics.
Indonesia's outbound shipments to the Gulf nation rose 26.45 percent on average to $209.39 million last year from 2009. From January to September, exports surged 14.34 percent to $187.19 million from the previous year. The biggest contributors to sales were automobiles (37.22 percent), followed by palm oil (33.03 percent), plywood (12.24 percent) and paper (3.3 percent).
Despite the promising growth, Southeast Asia's biggest economy still ranked as the 27th biggest exporter in Oman with a minor share of 0.63 percent, according to the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), leaving enormous room to explore.
In addition to the high value-added goods, Indonesia may also increase the shipment of building materials provided by massive construction projects taking place in Oman, Dody said. In the service sector, professional jobs, such as in construction and hospitality were also available for Indonesians to grab, he added.
Oman plans to kick off its high-speed train project next year. The first phase of the railway project will connect Sohar, the capital and the biggest city of the Al Batinah North Governorate in Oman, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while the second phase will expand the country's link to Saudi Arabia.
Speaking on the sidelines of the buying mission, the Ilbri branch chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ali Saleh Al-Kabani, called on dozens of Indonesian businesspeople to invest in Oman, where opportunities were available in all business sectors.
'Political stability, security and labor, all which support investment, exist in Oman,' he said.
Ali further said that Omani importers were seeking opportunities to source more goods directly from Indonesia.
At present, some Indonesian products, such as furniture and food, enter the country through surrounding countries, notably the UAE. Ali also hoped businesspeople from both nations could weave a closer business link helped by the recently launched direct flights from Oman's capital, Muscat, to Jakarta.
On Dec. 12 Oman Air began offering three flights a week from its capital city to Jakarta to cope with strong demand from air travelers in Oman, the national flag carrier said in a statement posted on its website. Indonesia has in past years intensified its efforts to diversify exports to non-traditional destinations, which includes the Middle East, to shift its dependence on key markets.
The force has become more important as the government has set a new target to triple its exports in the next five years. It expects exports to grow only by 0.9 percent to $183.3 billion this year due to weakening overseas demand.
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