Widodo visit: Islamabad to  urge Jakarta  to buy more rice , citrus fruit

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  By Muhammad Luqman Pakistan will urge the Indonesian President  Joko Widodo  during his visit to Islamabad to increase access of Pakistani products especially rice and citrus to Indonesia market the way Pakistan has been facilitating Jakarta in palm oil sector. “We are importing palm oil worth US $ 2 billion , mainly from Indonesia and Malaysia. Indonesia should also open up its market for Pakistani agri products,” says Inamullah, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan. He said that two Pakistani firms had already secured an order to export 65,000 tons of white rice (non-Basmati) to Indonesia. This would be the first time Pakistan would be exporting white rice to Indonesia. The two countries have recently agreed to revise their preferential trade agreement (PTA) to make it mutually beneficial and address the imbalance in bilateral trade. Pakistan-Indonesia’s bilateral trade volume increased from $1.23 billion in 2011-12 to $2.44 billion in financial year 2016-17. However, ever since the PTA with Indonesia became operational in 2013, Pakistan’s exports have been on a negative trajectory, coming down from $196 million in 2012-13 to $138 million in 2016-17, according  to data available with Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce. To address this, Pakistan initiated a review of PTA with Indonesia and, among other things, took up the issue of market access for rice with its trading partner in the Asia-Pacific region. Indonesia has agreed to revise its trade pact with Pakistan, making 20 more items, including rice from Pakistan, duty-free. The issue of the PTA and other trade related matters will be discussed in the Joint Pakistan-Indonesia Economic Commission being held in Islamabad during Indonesian President’s visit.

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