ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Pakistan, Adam Mulawarman Tugio said Pakistan and Indonesia had strong prospects for proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which help strengthen economic and trade ties between the two countries.

The Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) already existed in both the countries which opened up the possibility of increasing bilateral trade, he said.
Due to the PTA between Pakistan and Indonesia, cooperation between the two countries had increased in the industrial sector including agriculture.

He said trade between the two countries had doubled since the PTA and Indonesia’s exports had increased, adding that talks were underway to reduce the trade gap between the two countries.
He said strengthening the economic and trade ties between Pakistan and Indonesia were being negotiated on ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA).

The Ambassador said Indonesia had a strong role to play, adding, progress was being made to enhance economic and trade integration between Pakistan and Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
He hoped that the agreement of ATIGA would be finalized next year.

He said ATIGA was a result of almost two decades of trade integration efforts amongst the AMS, starting with the signing of ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 1993.

ATIGA, which was the forerunner of the ASEAN Plus 1 FTAs, including the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, consolidated and streamlined the provisions in the Agreement on the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) and other relevant ASEAN agreements, and broadened its scope, he informed.The Ambassador said Pakistan had an important geographical location which could connect Central Asian Countries with the world on the one hand and Western China on the other hand for which Gwadar Port was of utmost importance.

The Ambassador said ASEAN countries had FTAs with China, Japan and Korea.
He said ASEAN countries had US $ 600 billion annual trade with China, US $ 200 billion with Japan, US $ 150 billion with South Korea and US $ 300 billion with the United States, which added up to US $ 1.25 trillion in its annual trade volume.

He said religious tourism could be promoted in Pakistan and ASEAN countries which could also enhance economic cooperation between the two sides.
Responding to a question, he said Indonesia was keenly interested in investing in Pakistan and had greater potential in the near future.

By News Desk

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