Indonesia, Iran discuss preferential trade agreement

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian and Iranian governments discussed tariff reduction at the fourth round of the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) negotiations in an effort to expand market access for Indonesias potential products.

The Director of Bilateral Talks of the Ministry of Commerce, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, said one of the agenda discussed at the negotiation was the reduction of export tariffs for Indonesian products to Iran which is considered high.

"The discussion is a concrete step for Indonesia that is expected to bring advantages for business actors," Made said in a written statement received by Antara here, Saturday.

She explained that the high cost of exports to Iran is due to the high tariffs applied by the country for Indonesian products. Besides that, the payment transactions should be made through a third party. With the reduction in tariffs, the export cost of Indonesian products to Iran will be reduced.

In the previous talk, the two countries focused more on connecting perceptions and discussing the PTA draft and have succeeded in agreeing on several articles.

"The last discussion was mostly about substantial issues, among others, capital and products that the export tariffs are expected to reduce, as well as Rules of Origin draft," Made noted.

She said that both countries agreed to complete the negotiations as soon as possible to be implemented soon. It is expected that by mid 2018 the negotiations have reached agreement.

In the fifth round, the negotiation chairpersons will be more flexible and pragmatic with the spirit of completing the agenda so as to produce quality and mutually beneficial documents of both countries.

"Iran is an important and potential partner for Indonesia in expanding market access in the Middle East region," Made asserted.

Some PTA deals between Iran and other countries are with Malaysia, Vietnam and Pakistan. Iran will also establish Free Trade Zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

Indonesia and Irans trade balance during the period 2013-2016 always showed a surplus for Indonesia. Data of 2016 showed the value of Indonesias exports to Iran reached US$235.19 million and Indonesian imports from Iran amounted to US$103.4 million.

Meanwhile, total trade between Indonesia and Iran in January-July 2017 rose by 201.82 percent compared to that in the same period in 2016. Indonesias exports to Iran during that period stood at US$175 million, while Indonesian imports reached US$208.2 million.

Indonesias main export commodities to Iran are paper and paper products, as well as palm oil, while Indonesias imported commodities from Iran are petroleum, gypsum, iron and steel products, and sulfur.

Source: ANTARA News

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