INDONESIA, NEW ZEALAND INK NEW TRADE DEAL
Indonesia and New Zealand set an ambitious Rp40-trillion target for bilateral trade by 2024 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Antara news agency,
"I emphasize that it is not easy to achieve this target in the midst of this situation. We must work extra hard. We are also keen to witness a more balanced trade," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated after holding a virtual Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) with her counterpart from New Zealand, Winston Peters, on Wednesday.
Indonesia is especially upbeat about New Zealand simplifying the import health standards (IHS) as a prerequisite for exporting fruits to the country.
In 2019, Indonesia's exports to New Zealand had risen to US$745.33 million, up 11 percent, while the value of imports plunged to $772.19 million.
Thus, the Indonesia-New Zealand trade balance is getting narrower, with a difference of $26.85 million.
The Indonesian Embassy in Wellington noted that the rise in exports to New Zealand was contributed by the five leading export commodities of palm oil, chemicals, wood floors, television, and rubber tire products. In addition, coffee from Indonesia is also a favorite among New Zealanders.
In the investment sector, the Indonesian government recorded a substantial increase from New Zealand in the first half of 2020, reaching $9 million, as compared to $3.25 million during the corresponding period last year.
In addition to trade and investment, the foreign ministers of Indonesia and New Zealand also discussed ways to intensify cooperation in the MSME and renewable energy sectors in a bid to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Both nations are also striving for expediting negotiations for arrangements on New Zealand's recognition of bachelor’s degrees, while for the undergraduate and applied science degrees from Indonesia.
The foreign ministers also briefly discussed regional issues, including the South China Sea and Rohingya refugees.
To this end, New Zealand lauded Indonesia's keenness to temporarily accept Rohingya refugees left adrift in the waters of Aceh some time ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The essence of the meeting was in the midst of a very fluid world situation and tinged with a lot of uncertainties. Indonesia and New Zealand continue to enhance cooperation and are committed to promoting peace, stability, and world cooperation," Marsudi noted.