The Jakarta Post
Palestine has requested the Indonesian government exempt it from import tariffs on 61 of its products after Jakarta imposed zero tariffs on Palestinian dates and olives earlier this year.
The request was made by the Palestinian delegation during its visit to the Trade Ministry in Jakarta following significant disruption to Palestine’s economy because of Israel’s boycott on supplies passing through the border of the two countries.
“We are here in Indonesia with the hope of strengthening our relations so that our trade and economy can be freed thoroughly from Israel’s influence,” said Jawad Almuty, director for trade development at Palestine's National Economy Ministry, in a press conference on Tuesday in Jakarta.
However, Almuty said he could not reveal the 61 products in question as they were still under discussion with Indonesian officials.
The Palestinian delegation, consisting of representatives of Palestinian trade and economic institutions, have also been visiting the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Jakarta administration since Monday.
Almuty expressed hope that Indonesia would scrap tariffs on the products to show political support for Palestine’s independence -- which has long been voiced by Indonesia.
The latest show of support from Jakarta in terms of trade was in late February when Indonesia exempted Palestinian olives and dates from import tariffs after two years of discussion.
The decision on olives and dates, however, was not solely based on political reasons, but also because of high demand for olives and dates in Indonesia, Mochamad Rizalu Akbar, Africa and Middle East subdirector at the Trade Ministry said.
As for Palestine's recent proposal, Mochamad said Indonesia was waiting for the final proposal and details from Palestine.
“We need the details so that we can start considering whether the products would disrupt Indonesia's production of similar items,” he said.
According to Mochamad, bilateral trade between Indonesia and Palestine last year stood at US$3.5 million with $2.8 million in favor of Indonesia. (ipa)