The Indonesian government has pledged to gain access to the African market after the launch of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiations between Indonesia and Tunisia on June 25.
Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita said on Wednesday that negotiations are expected to be concluded in 2018 and Tunisia has been seen as a hub to expand Indonesia’s product exports to North African countries and the European Union.
“At the meeting in Tunisia, I also met with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed who agreed that the PTA should be concluded this year, and then be converted into a free trade agreement,” Lukita said.
The PTA is expected to lower tariffs on goods produced by both countries in order to improve trade and investment.
President Joko Widodo sees a huge potential market in the Maghreb that has not been spotted by Indonesian entrepreneurs.
Tunisia can serve as a hub for Indonesian products to penetrate other markets in African and European countries.
Tunisia has signed an FTA with the EU since 2008, under which it imposes a zero tariff on Tunisian products.
Meanwhile, the African country still imposes a high tariff of 9.3 percent on Indonesian products, while Indonesia has set a tariff of 5.3 percent for Tunisian products.
The value of bilateral trade between Indonesia and Tunisia amounted to 87,960,000 dollars in 2017 against 60,740,000 $ in 2016.