On the sidelines of the implementation of the ASEAN-India Summit, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) held a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel, New Delhi, India on Thursday (1/25/2018). Increasing economic cooperation became the main topic of the meeting.
In fact, bilateral trade between Indonesia and India began to grow since last year, but is still considered far from its true potential. “Therefore, efforts to increase trade should continue to be done including eliminating trade barriers,” he said as quoted from the Cabinet Secretariat website, Friday (1/26).
On the occasion, Jokowi said related to the high increase of import duty tariff on vegetable oil to India. An increase in palm oil tariff will affect Indonesia’s palm oil exports.
Jokowi was hoping the Indian government can reconsider its tariff policy on vegetable oil. “If Indonesia’s palm oil exports are plummeting, I’m sure it will also affect the fulfillment of India’s growing market needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, related to the architecture of the Indo-Pacific region, President Jokowi wanted to invite key countries in the region to discuss the concept of Indo Pacific. “My advice, this concept is to be developed based on openness, inclusive, based on the spirit of cooperation,” he said.
As a very active country in IORA, President Jokowi believes PM Modi will agree to strengthen the IORA. “In order for the Indian Ocean Ring can be a stable and prosperous area,” said Jokowi.
Jokowi also appreciated India’s support for the ASEAN-led Mechanism including the East Asia Summit (EAS). Indonesia has proposed the start of maritime cooperation within the EAS which is also supported by India. For planning ahead, maritime cooperation will be one of the priorities of cooperation between the two countries.