M’sia, Indonesia discuss outstanding trade issues

The third Malaysia-Indonesia Joint Trade and Investment Committee (JTIC) Ministerial Meeting yesterday discussed several key outstanding issues affecting bilateral trade between Malaysia and Indonesia, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said the meeting, among others, reviewed the 1970 Border Trade Agreement: Trade restriction on Tebedu-Entikong border; recognition of Malaysia’s halal logo by the Indonesian authority; cooperation in intellectual property issues; standards and recognition; and cooperation and collaboration on issues related to palm oil products.

“We discussed ways forward to address specific concern from both sides, that is enhancing bilateral trade and investment ties and reinforcing the border trade,” he said at the opening session of the JTIC Ministerial meeting.

Mustapa said Indonesia is Malaysia’s eighth-largest trading partner and the thirdlargest among the Asean countries, adding that total trade between Malaysia and Indonesia in 2016 was RM57.09 billion.

He said for the first five months of this year, the total trade increased 38.4% from RM22.92 billion in January to RM31.73 billion in May 2016.

Mustapa said from 1980 until 2016, a total of 66 manufacturing projects, with participation from Indonesia, were approved in Malaysia with a total investment of US$1,93 billion (RM5.32 billion), creating 32,818 jobs.

In 2016, he said two projects worth US$1.03 billion from Indonesian investors were approved, creating 128 jobs, while the top five projects ranked according to the total value of investment were food manufacturing, beverages and tobacco, textiles and textile products, leather and leather products, and wood and wood products.

He said according to the international investment position fourth-quarter report of 2016 by the Department of Statistics, Indonesia remained one of Malaysia’s top three direct investment destinations at 9.6%.

“Based on the same report, Malaysia’s investment in Indonesia amounted to RM214.94 million in 2015 and RM209.5 million in 2016.

“Investments in Indonesia are mostly in key sectors such as the oil palm plantation, banking, oil and gas, telecommunications and construction,” he said.

Mustapa said according to Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board, in 2016, Malaysia became the eight-largest investor behind Singapore, China, Japan, the US, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and South Korea with total investments worth US$1.1 billion.

“There are many business opportunities exist between the two countries, and with a total population of 255 million people, Indonesia provides a huge market potential to be tapped by Malaysian companies.

“Malaysia at the same time needs to ramp up its efforts in attracting more investments from Indonesia,” said Mustapa.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Minister of Trade Drs Enggartiasto Lukita said the meeting could further pave the way for better economic relations between the two countries, asserting that bilateral trade relations could not be taken for granted.

He said Malaysia is Indonesia’s second-largest trading partner in Asean, but the current decreasing trend in their bilateral trade should be addressed for the economic growth of both nations.

Enggartiasto said in 2016, total bilateral trade between the two countries was recorded at US$14 billion, a decrease of 11.43% from 2015.

“Our data also showed that the total trade between the two countries was also negative 12.99% in the last five years from 2012 to 2016 . These figures should concern us,” he added.

He said Malaysia has been five top investor in Indonesia with foreign direct investment amounting to US$47.2 billion from 2012 to 2016. — Bernama