Indonesia will be holding discussions with government ministries and officials from the private sector to boost bilateral relations with Qatar in the fields of trade, tourism, and investment, ambassador Mohamed Basri Sidehabi has said.
“The embassy is prioritising Indonesia’s ‘TTI’ sectors - trade, tourism, and investment - which is a directive from President Joko Widodo,” Sidehabi told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the ‘Economic Diplomacy Seminar’ held at the Westin Hotel Doha yesterday.
To implement this, the ambassador said, the seminar was looking to explore avenues where Indonesia and Qatar could work both ways in enhancing bilateral relations through these sectors.
“The seminar aims to optimise the role of the ‘Indonesia diaspora’ and entrepreneurs in Qatar as counterparts of the Indonesian embassy within the framework of Indonesia’s economic diplomacy,” said Sidehabi, adding that special envoy to the Indonesian president for Middle East Affairs Dr Alwi Abdurrahman Shihab and professor Salim Said served as keynote speakers during the event.
Shihab is scheduled to meet with HE former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah as well as officials from the Qatar Investment Authority, the Qatar Chamber and Qatar Airways, the ambassador said.
The ambassador also said Shihab will also discuss with state authorities the $1bn joint investment fund (JIF), which focuses mainly on major projects in infrastructure, mining, and power generation.
“To boost our trade with Qatar, Dr Shihab’s mission is to meet with government ministries and members of the Qatari private sector,” he said, noting that Indonesia’s trade volume with Qatar stood at $1.4bn in 2015 but decreased by $800mn this year due to low oil prices.
Indonesia is a large energy exporter (coal, crude petroleum, and petroleum gases). Other products with significant value are crude palm oil, shrimp, fish and products of fish, coffee, processed foods, crafts, textile, automotive, furniture, and footwear, deputy director of Indonesia’s trade promotion centre Bagas Haryotejo had said during an investment meeting held in March.
In the field of tourism, Sidehabi said Qatar Airways will boost its flight frequencies to Indonesia’s capital of Jakarta as well as Denpasar in Bali.
“Based on a memorandum of understanding, Doha-Jakarta flights will increase from three daily flights to four, while Doha-Denpasar flights will increase from two daily flights to three,” the ambassador said.
Sidehabi also said talks are ongoing with Qatar Airways to add flights to the following destinations: Medan, the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra province; the capital city of Manado in the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia; Batam, a small island in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago in the South China Sea; and the port city of Surabaya in Java.
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