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Indonesia betting on greater market access in Middle-East

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia expects its commodities, including its halal products, to have greater access to the Middle East market following President Joko Widodos (Jokowi) visit to the region.

“As an important economic cooperation partner in the region, Indonesia expects the state visit by President Joko Widodo and his entourage to provide its products, including halal products, greater access to the Middle-East market,” a member of the presidential communication team, Ari Dwipayana, said in a press statement released on Friday.

The President and his entourage left for the Middle East on Friday to pay a state visit to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

The state visit is aimed at forging bilateral relations with Middle Eastern countries, particularly in the fields of economic cooperation, energy resilience, protection of Indonesian migrant workers and to boost cooperation in strategic industries.

During the visit, President Jokowi will hold bilateral talks with King Salman bin Abdulazis in Jeddah; with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the UAE, in Abu Dhabi; and with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, in Doha.

The Presidents entourage includes the Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) Sofyan Djalil and Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung.

Saudi Arabia is Indonesias largest trading partner in the Middle East. The UAE is the main destination for Indonesian exports in the Middle East, while Qatar is the biggest investor among Middle Eastern countries in Indonesia, including for its portfolio investment.

The visit is aimed not only at opening greater access for Indonesian commodities in the Middle Eastern market, but also at encouraging investors from the three countries to make direct investments in Indonesia, particularly in the infrastructure, maritime and energy sectors.

Furthermore, the rapid development of Indonesias strategic defense industry has drawn special attention from the three Middle Eastern countries.

During the visit, the Indonesian leader will also encourage partnership and cooperation with Middle Eastern partners in the field of strategic industries, including a plan to buy several main armament systems from Indonesia.

In view of the fact that the three countries account for 24 percent of the worlds total oil production, 30 percent of global oil deposits and 18 percent of global gas deposits, the President will also focus the visit on strengthening Indonesias partnership with the three countries in the energy field to support Indonesian energy resilience.

The number of Indonesian migrant workers employed in the three countries has reached more than 1.4 million. Most of them are employed in the informal sector. They contribute greatly to not only to the three countries economy, but also to Indonesia.

Therefore, the protection of Indonesian migrant workers will be high on the agenda of the Presidents visit to the Middle East.

Source: www.antaranews.com, Friday 11 September 2015