JAKARTA: Indonesia has been promoting spices and snacks in Jeddah in a bid to boost exports to Saudi Arabia, as the Indonesian Week festival held in the port city wrapped up on Thursday.
Indonesia, which has been working to diversify its exports to non-traditional markets, has rolled out various efforts to increase trade and commerce with Saudi Arabia, including the visit of a special trade delegation to Riyadh this year.
Trade between the two countries has been on the rise, with bilateral trade increasing by about 45 percent to $7 billion between January and November last year, compared to the same period in the previous year.
The festival, which began July 27, was organized by Indonesia’s Consulate General in Jeddah and featured nearly 150 Indonesian products. It concluded on the Southeast Asian nation’s Independence Day, which falls on Aug. 17.
“This is one of our efforts to increase exports to Saudi Arabia, by way of promoting Indonesian products, especially food and beverages,” Siti Nizamiyah, consul for economic affairs at the Indonesian Consulate General in Jeddah, told Arab News in a phone interview.
A preliminary report suggested there has been a “significant increase” in sales, Nizamiyah added, compared to the other two times the event has been held. Most of the products promoted in Jeddah are spices and snacks, such as candlenut, coriander and different types of peanuts.
The festival aims to introduce various Indonesian products to potential buyers in Jeddah, including catering companies, hotels, and also residents of the city.
“What I’ve been seeing in my observations is that many people like Indonesian products, possibly because of the price, as our prices are quite competitive with local goods too,” Nizamiyah said, adding that customers are not limited to Indonesians in the Kingdom, but also people of other nationalities.
“We are hoping to promote not only to Indonesians, but also to other nationals here in Jeddah,” she added.
In an interview with Arab News earlier this month, Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia Faisal Abdullah Amodi said there were many avenues that could further strengthen ties between the Southeast Asian nation and the Kingdom, which has traditionally focused on Hajj and Umrah as Indonesia, a country of 270 million people, sends the largest contingents of pilgrims to the Kingdom each year.
“I believe this period is a historical period for both countries to enhance relations, especially with regard to the economy and investment,” Amodi said.