Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel in New Delhi, India, on Thursday (25/01). During the meeting Widodo - often nicknamed Jokowi - expressed the importance of enhancing economic cooperation between Indonesia and India, two big emerging market forces in the world.
The meeting was part of the summit that commemorates 25 years of ASEAN-India relations. At his summit, ASEAN leaders renewed their commitment to enhance the multifaceted ties between the Southeast Asian group of nations and India.
Bilateral trade between Indonesia and India actually started to grow significantly after December 2016 when both leaders - Jokowi and Modi - met in India. However, trade between both nations remains far from its true potential. Therefore, both countries need to take more efforts to increase trade. "This includes removing trade barriers," Jokowi said.
An example, which particularly impacts negatively on Indonesian exports, is India's decision last year to raise import tariffs for crude palm oil (CPO) from 7.5 percent to 15 percent. Jokowi added that this decision could also become a problem for India where domestic CPO demand is growing rapidly (hence there exists a reliance on CPO that is imported from abroad). Hence, Jokowi urges Indian authorities to reconsider the high CPO import tariff hike.
Meanwhile, Jokowi also expressed his intention to strengthen the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), an inter-governmental organization aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region, in an effort to strengthen the stability and prosperity of the region.
Maritime cooperation is also high on the agenda. Indonesia urged for a start of close maritime cooperation between various nations at the East Asia Summit. This proposal was supported by India.
After a meeting between entrepreneurs of both nations (Indonesia and India), Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said there exists the potential of more than USD $2.1 billion worth of new trade between Indonesia and India. More than 30 investors of each nation were present at the meeting.