Indonesia to prioritize imports of meat, rice, raw sugar from India in exchange for lower CPO tariff

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Indonesia will prioritizes imports of buffalo meat, rice and raw sugar from India after the South Asian country adjusted crude palm oil (CPO) tariffs for its top two importers, Malaysia and Indonesia, earlier this month.

“India has given us an opportunity to increase our CPO exports, it is only fair to give India access to our market as well,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said during the India-Indonesia Multi Product Roadshow opening ceremony in Jakarta on Monday.

Previously, India had imposed a 50 percent import tariff on palm oil products coming from Indonesia, while Malaysia enjoyed a lower tariff of 45 percent as it has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the country.

India is the largest palm oil market for Indonesia with an export share of about 20 percent, equivalent to 6.71 million tons last year. The EU, China and Pakistan follow India with exports of 4.78 million, 4.41 million and 2.48 million tons, respectively.

“Within six months, Indonesia will export CPO worth at least US$500 million to India,” Enggar said.

Despite prioritizing India as an import origin country, Indonesia would not increase its meat, rice and raw sugar imports from the current volume, he went on to say.

“We will only import what we need as long as the market can absorb the products,” Enggar stressed.

He added that India’s buffalo meat imports could fill in the gap of the 620,000-ton national meat demand as local producers can only provide around 450,000 tons.

As for raw sugar, Enggar stated the country had equalized India’s import duty with other countries, namely Australia and Thailand.

Meanwhile, when it comes to importing rice, Indonesia will prioritize India’s products, especially its basmati rice, Enggar said, adding that the two countries were also looking at other commodities for trade, such as textiles.

The bilateral trade plan was in line with the target set by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April to reach a target of $50 billion worth of trade by 2025.

Indian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat said bilateral trade between the two countries from 2018 to 2019 was worth $21.11 billion and that finding a balance to reach the target was “not difficult.” (eyc)

Source: thejakartapost.com