Indonesia Seeks Better Trade Balance with NZ

Indonesia’s deputy Minister of Trade has called for New Zealand to evolve into a ‘true partner’ that will help Indonesia solve its problems, writes Ruth Le Pla for  Speaking at an Indonesia/New Zealand business forum in Jakarta, Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi said the huge ?disparity in the size of the two countries’ populations made it difficult to explain to Indonesia’s parliament, constituents and media, the country’s US$200 million ($245 million) trade deficit with New Zealand, according to Le Pla. ‘If we only talk about trade you see the imbalance between our two economies,’ Dr Krisnamurthi told her. Dr Krisnamurthi suggested the Indonesian Trade Minister might face social or political pressure to redress the imbalance if the relationship between the two countries is not also seen to help improve the lives of some of Indonesia’s poorest people. ‘We have 50 to 60 million people with disposable income at the same or even higher levels than New Zealand or Australia,’ he said. ‘But still we have 200 million people who face difficulties in energy, water, transportation, logistics and connectivity.’ A 52-person New Zealand business delegation is currently in Jakarta at the start of a two-week visit to Indonesia to strengthen trade relationships between the two countries. They have expertise in geothermal energy, aviation, food and beverages, banking and education. It is the first New Zealand cross-sectoral business mission to visit Indonesia since Prime Minister John Key led a high-level delegation to Jakarta in April 2012.  The group will also investigate opportunities in the second tier economies of Bandung, Surabaya and Bali. New Zealand’s trade relationship with Indonesia is steadily growing, according to the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In the year ending December 2011, trade between Indonesia and New Zealand was worth NZ$1.52 billion FOB.  Indonesia was New Zealand’s tenth largest export market for the year ending December 2011, and the second largest NZ export market in Southeast Asia (after Malaysia).  Within ASEAN, Indonesia is ranked New Zealand’s fourth largest bilateral trading partner and is our thirteenth largest worldwide.  In the year to December 2011, the value of New Zealand exports to Indonesia was NZ$848 million.  New Zealand’s dairy exports to Indonesia were NZ$368 million and exports of meat products were NZ$118 million. Exports of timber, paper and wood products have seen a significant expansion in recent years. Ms. Le Pla was in Indonesia on an Asia New Zealand Foundation grant.

Tags: Asia New Zealand Foundation  Dr Bayu Krisnamurthi  Indonesia  Jakarta  NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade  Ruth Le Pla