ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
RI seeks industrial relations with S. Africa
Apart from boosting bilateral trade with South Africa, Indonesia is also seeking to build industrial cooperation with the most industrialized nation on the African continent.
Industry Minister Saleh Husin said that similar to Indonesia, its African counterpart was trying to add value to its natural resources, paving the way for further cooperation based on complementarity.
“We can exchange agricultural commodities that each of us produce and does not produce. Indonesia can also learn, for instance, gold designing from South Africa, which has a more advanced model,” he said Wednesday after meeting South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies at his office.
At present Indonesia mainly ships palm oil, natural rubber, jewelry and vehicles to South Africa, while it imports wood, pulp, sugar and cotton.
In addition, the Industry Ministry’s director general for international industry cooperation, Dyah Winarni Poedjiwati, said Indonesia invited South Africa to join industrial cooperation among developing nations under the platform provided by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Under a cooperation agreement that has run since 2011, Indonesia has provided training for some African countries, such as Mozambique and Liberia, through industrial workshops.
In the interest of its industry, South Africa also requested its counterpart to boost trade in goods over which the countries are not competing with each other. Both countries, for example, have an edge in the textile and footwear industries.
“The complementarity-based trade will help grow the industry in each country,” Dyah said.
In a bilateral meeting in 2012, the two countries agreed to carry out separate preliminary studies to assess their complementarity, particularly by mapping out areas that would give major benefits to a planned preferential trade agreement (PTA).
Minister Rob Davies said the country had already finished its study and would be ready to share its results with Indonesia. He also added that expanding cooperation within Africa would be another opportunity for Indonesia to tap into.
“There’s an interesting new development in terms of regional integration, a cooperation program in industrial development between several of our countries and also infrastructure development programs. So this offers an opportunity for cooperation with other countries outside the region,” Davies said.
A South African business mission is scheduled to visit Indonesia in June in line with a joint trade committee meeting, which will discuss Indonesian National Standards (SNIs), market access, special economic zones, capacity building of small and medium enterprises and preparation for discussions on the PTA.
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