JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan began a visit to Egypt on Sunday as Jakarta seeks to explore export potential in non-traditional markets in Africa.
Hasan will hold talks with Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir during the three-day trip, with Jakarta and Cairo expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to form a joint trade committee.
“We are hoping for new trade transactions and a willingness from the Egyptian side to start talks on Indonesia-Egypt PTA (Preferential Trade Agreement),” Hasan said in a statement shared with Arab News.
PTA will provide easier access for a number of products from both countries by reducing or eliminating duty rates, the minister said.
“The African market, such as Egypt, is a potential non-traditional market that we must work on intensively. As such, we will meet various parties and increase trade cooperation with stakeholders in Egypt.”
In Cairo, Hasan will also meet members of the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce and open the Indonesia-Egypt Business Forum, the latter of which is expected to bring together businesses from the two countries.
“Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan will witness the signing of several memoranda of understanding between businesses of the two countries,” the trade ministry said.
Bilateral trade was worth $1.57 billion last year, with palm oil and its derivatives, as well as coffee beans and coconuts, comprising Indonesia’s main exports to the North African nation.
Hasan will also inaugurate a space dedicated for the promotion of Indonesian products at the Indonesian Embassy in Cairo during his visit.
Indonesian coffee beans are particularly popular among the Egyptian public, according to the embassy.
“Local coffee shops selling coffee beans from Indonesia are flourishing in various city corners, including Cairo, Alexandria and other cities in south Egypt,” the embassy said in a statement.
“The interest and buyer inclination in Egypt must be used as a momentum to continue pushing for the marketing and unique quality of Indonesian coffee, while simultaneously promoting other Indonesian products in Egypt.”
Indonesia is the fourth-largest coffee-producing country in the world, and Asia’s second biggest, accounting for about 7 percent of global coffee output.
Egypt was the second-biggest export destination for Indonesian coffee last year, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency, just behind the US.