Tuesday, 30 November, 2021

UAE, Indonesia sign $27bn deals to boost economic co-operation

DUBAI: The UAE and Indonesia signed agreements worth $27 billion during the visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to the UAE and the countries are looking to triple two-way trade in the next four years from $2.5bn in 2020 as relations strengthen.

The government and the private sector entities signed deals in different sectors including energy, aviation, financial services, artificial intelligence, agriculture and defence, the country’s trade minister Muhammad Lutfi told reporters on Friday. Deals valued at about $10bn were signed with Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund, report agencies.

DP World signed a $7.5bn deal with Indonesia’s sovereign wealth fund to develop the South-East Asian country’s seaports over a period of up to 30 years, while Etihad Credit Insurance, the UAE’s federal export credit agency, inked an agreement with state-owned reinsurance services provider Indonesia Re to improve funding access to small and medium enterprises and mid-cap companies to boost exports.

The South-East Asia’s largest economy will be looking to boost bilateral trade with the UAE as economic relations strengthen, Mr Lutfi said.

“We are going to sign CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) in the first quarter of next year and hopefully after that … we are going to double or triple (our trade) by 2025,” he told The National in a separate interview.

Mr Widodo visited the UAE from November 2 to November 4 and met with the country’s top leadership, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Bilateral trade between the UAE and Indonesia reached about $2.5bn in 2020. The UAE exported goods worth about $1.5bn to Indonesia, while the South-Asian country’s imports from the UAE amounted to $1bn.

“The trade deficit is related to energy imports from the UAE especially oil and its derivatives,” he said, while adding the country is looking to increase exports of stainless steel, gold jewellery and fresh agriculture produce to the Emirates.

Indonesia sold $8.6bn worth of jewellery last year and 37 per cent of it transited through Singapore to reach the UAE, he said.

“We want to expedite CEPA agreement to make sure that Indonesia will double and triple its export and import size with the UAE.”