Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto has urged Indonesian businessmen to cooperate with their counterparts in Latin America and the Caribbean to tap into potential business, as part of efforts to increase trade with the region.
He made the request while addressing the four-day Indonesia-Latin America and Caribbean Business Forum (INA-LAC), which ends November 12, 2020.
"We must change the crisis momentum caused by the pandemic into opportunities to improve our trade performance. This business forum serves as a bridge to establish large cooperation between Indonesia and 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean so they will grow into mutually beneficial regions," he said in an official statement issued here on Wednesday.
The INA-LAC business forum was organized by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry with the theme, ‘Smart Partnership: Refocusing Indonesia-Latin America and the Caribbean Economic Relations in the Time of Pandemic’.
The Trade Minister said cooperation is important, particularly due to the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
He said Latin America and the Caribbean is a promising region for establishing trade cooperation.
According to data from the Trade Ministry, the region has an export potential of US$944.5 billion.
However, Indonesia's exports to the region are pegged at just US$3.3 billion.
In January-August, 2020, Indonesia recorded a deficit of US$1.6 billion in its trade with the region.
Indonesia holds a 0.42-percent share of the region's import market, lagging behind Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore.
Indonesia's exports to the region include cars and spare parts, vegetable fats and oils, rubber and rubber products, footwear, and paper and paper products. Indonesia's main export markets in the region are Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Haiti.