Indonesian Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan or Zulhas led the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Egypt during the Indonesia-Egypt Business Forum in Cairo, on the formation of a joint trade committee (JTC) that is aimed at enhancing trade cooperation between the two countries, according to reporting from Tempo.
Hasan, who is the National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman stated that strengthening economic ties between Indonesia and Egypt needed to be supported by infrastructure and other facilities, one of which was through the signing of JTC.
“It is hoped that this will become a means to discuss trade relations towards a more comprehensive trade agreement such as a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) whose results can be utilized by business people from the two countries,” Hasan said in a statement, Monday, May 15, 2023.
He explained that the MoU discussed one of the counter-trade agreements for date and coffee products. It also discussed the signing of MoUs between KADIN, the business council, and business actors from the two countries, say Tempo.
“The cooperation agreement through a counter-trade agreement scheme is quite an effective strategy amid the current unfavourable global economic situation,” said Hasan.
Tempo say that through the counter-trade mechanism, the two countries could continue to conduct mutually beneficial trade transactions, while maintaining each country’s foreign exchange reserves which might be affected by the global economic recession.
He explained that the total trade between Indonesia and Egypt in 2022 reached USD1.57-billion. In January – March 2023, the figure reached USD 432.8-million.
“In the last five years, the trade trend between the two countries has shown a positive trend of 11.21-percent. With this trend, it is hoped that in the next 5-years, the total trade between Indonesia and Egypt will reach USD 3-billion,” Hasan suggested.
According to him, Egypt has great prospects for Indonesian business players because it is a trade hub for the countries around it. “The existence of the Suez Canal trade route also plays a role in making Egypt a gateway to other countries in the Gulf, Africa, and the Middle East region,” the minister concluded.