The bilateral trade volume between Indonesia and Qatar last year is expected to surpass the $1.6bn record set in 2012, Indonesian Ambassador Deddy Saiful Hadi told Gulf Times.
In an interview at the embassy yesterday, Hadi disclosed that trade volume covering January to October in 2013 reached $1.3bn, a 9% increase compared to the same period in 2012.
“We do not have the complete figures as of now but we are expecting it to go beyond the 2012 level,” he said.
Also in the same period, the embassy recorded an 11% increase in the total Indonesian exports to Qatar amounting to $83mn. Its imports from Qatar totalled $1.3bn, an 8 % increase compared with 2012.
However, Hadi noted that despite the increase in the total trade volume of the two countries from January to October, Indonesia remains to be on the deficit side and this translates to about $1.2bn.
However, he pointed out that this deficit is normal because of Indonesia’s huge demand for oil and gas. “Deficit is given since we really need that commodity.”
Indonesia is trying to increase its exports to Qatar mainly on infrastructure-related raw materials such as cement, nails, steel, and similar products. It exports other products such as electronics, motor vehicles (Toyota and Suzuki cars being assembled in Indonesia), petrochemicals and furniture.
It is learnt that it also exports fruit and vegetables such as lettuce and some mangoes to Qatar but only in small volumes.
The embassy has announced that it will open an outlet for high-end Indonesian home decorations and furniture at Ezdan mall in March.
“These are original Indonesian-made products made by our small and medium enterprises,” said Muhammad Al Aula, third secretary at the embassy. “We want to introduce and showcase some of our new quality products in the Qatari market.”
Expecting that more buildings and hotels will be built in the coming years, embassy officials believe that these structures will also need good interiors and furniture.
The envoy had earlier disclosed that they are focusing on improving their non-oil exports to Qatar ranging from consumption products to a variety of construction materials.
Indonesia’s non-oil exports reached $88mn from January to November in 2012, a 26% increase on the $74mn figure in 2011 in the same period. Products ranged from shoes, electronics, building and construction materials, furniture and food items.
About investments, Hadi stressed that Qatar National Bank continues to expand its operations after investing $180mn to buy Kasawan Bank. From 20 in 2012, it now has a total of 43 branches.
“It is a good sign. It is a very good judgment of QNB because it will influence other potential Qatari investors,” he noted. “We hope the Qatar Investment Authority will also do the same knowing they prefer brown field investments”.
While Indonesian ministers and government officials have visited Qatar recently, the embassy said it is in the process of inviting high ranking Qatari officials to visit Indonesia this year.
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