ISLAMABAD : Pakistan was a major importer of palm oil to meet its domestic needs while Indonesia was the world’s largest producer of palm oil and its investors should set up joint ventures in Pakistan for production and processing of palm oil that would help in reducing import bill. This was observed by Ahmed Hassan Moughal, president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, while exchanging views with Wisnu Suryo Hutomo, Head of Economic & Commercial Department, Embassy of Indonesia, during his visit to Chamber House.
ICCI president said that Pakistan’s palm oil import witnessed 23 percent increase during the first half of 2017-18 and stressed that Indonesia should cooperate with Pakistan in enhancing local production of this commodity. Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that Pakistan and Indonesia should focus on promoting bilateral trade as the current volume of trade of around $2.5 billion was not reflective of their true potential.
He said that with serious efforts from both sides, the two-way trade could be increased up to $8 billion.
He said that after comprehensive review of the Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Indonesia, Indonesia had granted additional tariff lines to Pakistan and stressed that it should expedite the process of ratification of the additional tariff lines that would help in improving bilateral trade. He said that during the visit of President of Indonesia Joko Widodo to Pakistan in January this year along with a business delegation, both sides had signed several important agreements of cooperation and emphasized that practical steps should be taken for the implementation of those agreements in order to realize their actual benefits.
Rafat Farid, senior vice president, and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, vice president, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that Pakistan and Indonesia should enhance cooperation in agriculture field for achieving mutually beneficial outcomes. They said that both sides should promote partnerships between their private sectors to achieve win-win results. They assured that ICCI would like to work with Indonesian Embassy to promote business linkages between the business enterprises of both countries in order to explore all untapped areas of potential cooperation.
Speaking at the occasion, Wisnu Suryo Hutomo, Minister Cousenlor of Indonesian Embassy, said that Indonesia was ready to cooperate with Pakistan in cultivation of high-yielding palm plants in addition to establishing palm oil refineries in Pakistan for meeting its domestic needs. He said that his country was also willing to set up joint ventures in the production and processing of palm oil along with manufacturing of high-value palm oil products in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan was exporting rice while there was a huge demand of Pakistani kinnow and mangoes in Indonesia which should be exploited. He said both countries should focus on regular exchange of trade delegations to further strengthen bilateral trade relations.