SA, Indonesia to study trade obstacles

There are obstacles hampering trade between South Africa and Indonesia that need to be addressed, President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday.

He was speaking after hosting his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, at the Union Buildings for bilateral talks.

“I think we need to do a little bit more in terms of familiarising the business communities in both countries with the possibilities that exist of trade and investment,” Mbeki said.

“There is global promotion that should take place in the corporate sector and then there is a need for a sector-to-sector examination for things that might serve as obstacles,” he added.

This sentiment was shared by Yudhoyono, the first Indonesian president to visit South Africa.

“Even with obstacles and policy regulation standing in the way, we grew trade by 28%. Imagine what would happen if we removed these obstacles and establish a clear mechanism of trade,” Yudhoyono said.

South Africa last year exported R1,3-billion-worth of goods to Indonesia and imported R3-billion-worth. There is a South Africa-Indonesia joint trade commission, which Mbeki said needs to become more active.

The two leaders agreed one of the immediate steps to be taken is to reach agreement on an air links between the two countries.

They oversaw the signing of a strategic partnership agreement as well as memorandums of understanding on cooperation in defence and on arts and culture.
They also signed a framework agreement for the New Africa-Asia Strategic Partnership, which the two co-chair.—Sapa

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