JAKARTA– The Indonesian Government is committed to penetrating the African market following the launch of negotiations on the preferential trade agreement (PTA) between Indonesia and Tunisia on June 25.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated that the negotiations were expected to be concluded in 2018, and Tunisia was seen as a hub to extend Indonesias product exports to the northern African region and European Union (EU).
“During the meeting in Tunisia, I also met Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. He agreed that the PTA should be concluded this year, later to be upgraded to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA),” Lukita noted.
The PTA is expected to lower tariffs imposed on goods produced by the two countries to improve trade and investment.
President Joko Widodo views a huge potential market in Maghreb, a region of northwest Africa encompassing the coastlands and Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, which has not been spotted by Indonesias entrepreneurs.
Tunisia can serve as a hub for Indonesian products to penetrate other markets in African and European countries.
Tunisia had signed an FTA with the EU since 2008 under which the latter imposes zero tariff on Tunisian products.
Meanwhile, the African country still imposes a high tariff of 9.3 percent on Indonesian products, whereas Indonesia has set a 5.3 percent tariff for Tunisian products.
The value of bilateral trade between Indonesia and Tunisia in 2017 was recorded at US$87.96 million, increasing from $60.74 million in 2016.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK