Indonesia eyes Qatar as hub for trade and investment in Gulf
Indonesia can use Qatar as an “important and a viable regional hub” for trade and investment partnerships within the Gulf region, given its pivotal roles in many fronts, said Indonesian ambassador Deddy Saiful Hadi.
Qatar, he said, has really managed to diversify its economy to the extent that many countries across the world, including Indonesia, are seeking to be a partner on different numbers of projects, Hadi said on the occasion of the state visit to Qatar by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Indonesia, Hadi said, was trying to strengthen its relation and co-operation with Qatar, especially in economy and investment. Indonesia is trying to find the ways to achieve its national economic development priorities of energy, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, and maritime. In this regard, Widodo has asked all Indonesian missions abroad to emphasise on the implementation of “economic diplomacy”.
“I emphasised that Indonesia has considered Qatar as one of its important partners in the region. For Qatar itself, Indonesia is also one of its Southeast Asia Nation/Asean ‘imperative’ partners. Next year, the diplomatic relationship between the two countries will enter the 40th year. In this regard, the Indonesian side will propose to Qatar to have a joint bilateral consultation to review its bilateral co-operation and to have some urgent agreement such as visa exemption for diplomatic, service and special passport holders of the two countries. We want to boost the relationship between the two governments and our people to make a better understanding and to achieve our mutual goals.”
Hadi said there was “enormous” trade and investment potential that remained untapped by the respective business sectors of the two countries in view of the great diversity of their economies. The trade volume between the two countries stood at $1.68bn in 2014.
The trade deficit for Indonesia is mainly due to huge oil import.
In terms of trade between Qatar and Asean countries, Indonesia’s export to Qatar ranks third, after Singapore and Thailand. Indonesia’s main product exports consist of canned food, beverages, coffees, tea, sugar, oil product, sea foods, vegetables, textile, garment product, shoe products, and furniture, paper products, spare parts, electric equipment and building material.
The ambassador said Indonesia enjoyed “close and friendly” relations with Qatar “based on a tradition of goodwill and shared economic interests”.
“The visit of the President shows Qatar is becoming one of Indonesia’s most important foreign investors and trade partners,” Hadi said.
In terms of investment, Qatar invests in Indonesia through telecommunication and banking sectors. Qatari telecommunications company, Ooredoo currently has a 65% stake in Indonesia’s second largest telecommunications company, PT Indosat.
QNB has a stake of 78% in Indonesia’s banking sector through QNB-Kesawan, which has positively grown to 45 branches this year from 20 in 2012.
On Indonesian embassy’s efforts at enhancing economic and trade co-operation with Qatar, Hadi said, “The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Qatar has been working tirelessly to persuade the Indonesian and Qatar companies to partner and participate actively in Qatar’s development. Indonesian firms have been involved in many infrastructure projects in Qatar. Indonesia sees huge potential in exporting commodities and furniture required for Qatar’s construction sector even as the country prepares for FIFA World Cup 2022.”
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