LAHORE   -  Ambassador of Indonesia Iwan Suyudhieamri has invited Pakistani businessmen to participate in 34th Trade Expo scheduled to be held in October. Speaking at a ceremony at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Saturday, he stressed the need of taking measures for increasing the volume of bilateral trade between the two countries. LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal also spoke on the occasion. Amjad Ali Jawa, Sheikh Zafar Iqbal, Harris Attique, Mian Zahid Javed and Abuzar Shad were also present. The Ambassador urged the community to benefit from the expo as Pakistani products have great demand in Indonesia. He said that both the countries have old historical links and enjoy cordial relations.

Khawaja Shahzad Nasir said Indonesia and Pakistan were members of OIC and D-8 Organization of Economic Cooperation. Both countries have old historical links and share special bondage of friendship and companionship.

Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said Indonesia was a major trading partner of Pakistan. Among top importing and exporting destinations of Pakistan, Indonesia comes at 5th and 16th places respectively. He said that there was already a Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Indonesia. Last year, Indonesia allowed Pakistan to have free market access on 20 items with immediate effect.

It would certainly help increase trade while offering greater opportunities to exporters. He said that for the last few years, the bilateral trade was following an increasing trend. In 2016, the volume of two-way trade was dollar 2.2 billion which reached dollar 2.8 billion in 2018. He said that the imports from Indonesia registered a sizeable increase from dollar 2.1 billion in 2016 to dollar 2.5 billion in 2018. Pakistan’s exports to Indonesia are also picking up. In the same period, the value of exports increased from dollar 126 million to dollar 303 million. The major items imported from Indonesia are Palm Oil, Coal, Motor Vehicles and Artificial Staple Fibres etc. Pakistan’s main items of exports are Rice, Wheat, Citrus Fruit, Paper & Paperboard, woven fabric and cotton etc. Last year, the total worth of rice and wheat imported by Indonesia was around dollar 2.3 billion whereas the share of Pakistan in these two items was just 8.3%.

“We expect that other than rice and wheat, Pakistan should also be allowed to export items like light engineering, carpets and surgical instruments to bring some improvement in the present scenario”, Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said. He said that Indonesia has earned respectable name in areas including petro-chemicals, rubber, plywood, telecommunication and tourism. Indonesian business community can make direct investment in Pakistan in these industries and can also enter into joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts.