ISLAMABAD: Indonesia’s Ambassador to Pakistan Adam Mulawarman Tugio said on Saturday that Indonesia fully supports Pakistan to achieve full dialogue partner status with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN), which will bring huge economic opportunities to Pakistan with a potential $623 million trade market in the region.
In an exclusive interview with APP, the Ambassador said there were two approaches to achieving this goal; the first is through an institutional process while the second was that the existing bilateral policy between Pakistan and the various ASEAN member countries should be addressed through a bilateral approach.
Regarding the institutional approach, he said, ASEAN and Pakistan have already adopted the action plan, adding that there were 11 important areas where Pakistan and ASEAN countries could work. together and one of the areas was trade and investment. The second, he said, is related to the use of the bilateral approach, such as Pakistan can establish bilateral relations with Indonesia and with other ASEAN member countries and added that ‘By doing this, Pakistan could be accepted as a full dialogue partner and strengthen political, trade and economic ties with ASEAN member states.
The ambassador further said that Pakistan has vast potential to increase its exports to Indonesia, mainly textiles, garments, leather products, surgical instruments and fruits.
It is pertinent to mention here that the current bilateral trade between Indonesia and Pakistan is around 2.6 billion dollars; with a trade balance strongly in favor of Indonesia.
Responding to the question regarding the trade imbalance between the two countries, the Ambassador said that the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries has boosted Pakistan’s exports to Indonesia, while in the future , by signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the trade of both sides can be further improved.
Responding to a question about Indonesian investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Ambassador said that two Indonesian companies are already investing in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Faisalabad (Allama Iqbal Industrial City) and Thatta, Sindh Dhabeji Special Economic Zone.
He said the CPEC project will be a game-changer for the entire region through connectivity with Central Asia and Western China. In addition, Indonesia could also supply coal to the power projects set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and the national large-scale real estate and manufacturing sector.
He further said that Pakistan and Indonesia have many opportunities for cooperation in tourism as the two sides can introduce new dimensions in promoting mutual tourism. The Ambassador said Indonesia has provided 500 scholarships for Pakistani students to study at top Indonesian universities.