An Indonesian business delegation will visit Egypt on September 15 and 16 to seek opportunities of cooperation and investments between both countries, said Indonesian Ambassador to Egypt Helmy Fawzy on Monday in a Ramadan Iftar in Cairo.
The delegation of the Indonesian Local Business Associate includes businesspersons from different sectors like garments, handicraft, accessories, food and beverage (F&B), coffee, and spices, said Commercial Attache at the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo Irman Adi Purwanto.
He added that the trade volume between Indonesia and Egypt in January-March 2019 reached $341.25 million, compared to $285.75 in the same period of the previous year, with an increase of 19.42 percent.
“We are now focusing first to realize the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) between Indonesia and Egypt. We have submitted a draft and are waiting for a response from the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Egypt,” he said.
He continued that following the formation of the JTC, the signature of two agreements- Preferential Trade agreement (PTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA)- will be much easier to realize.
On November 1, 2018, Indonesian Minister of Trade and Industry Enggartiasto Lukita stated that his country will sign with Egypt the PTA and FTA deals to increase the trade volume between the two countries by at least 300 percent. Lukita’s comment came on the sidelines of the 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2018 at the Indonesian Convention Exhibition in BSD City in Banten.
“Future cooperative plans between Indonesia and Egypt shall further increase through participation in several exhibitions, business missions, bilateral meetings for trade and investment, joint promotion on trade – tourism – investment, and other prospective cooperation,” said Mr. Purwanto.
During the Iftar, Ambassador Helmy Fawzy said that Indonesia is the biggest importer of dates from Egypt. “The biggest exportation [share] comes from Egypt, particularly in the annual festival of dates in Egypt’s Siwa as Indonesia imports 60 percent of it.”
The investment portfolio of Egyptian date exports reach $17 million, the ambassador said, adding that $11 million out of this figure comes from Indonesia.
“In the past, it was rare to find dates on Indonesian tables during Ramadan, but now, every house serves dates,” he said, stressing that Indonesian people prefer Rotab dates.
“Egypt is a brotherly country and most Indonesians consider it their second home. Over the past two years, we have seen quite a significant increase in the number of Indonesian students who study in Egypt,” Ambassador Helmy said, adding that last year, 2,000 new Indonesian students arrived in Egypt.
Politically, he said that Indonesia has received several congratulations cables about the initial results of Indonesian general elections and the winning of President Joko Widodo for a second term, Fawzy said. “Recently the embassy received a congratulations letter from the Arab League,” he said.
The election is one of the most significant election processes. And a large number of Indonesian people support the premilitary election results, he continued.