JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The communities along the borders between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are expected to engage in trade activities again following the plan of reopening the shared borders.
“Indonesia is ready to reopen the border with Papua New Guinea to recover cross-border trade and the economic pulse of the people along the borders,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo told a virtual press conference after attending a meeting with his counterpart Prime Minister James Marape in Bogor Palace near Jakarta on Thursday, March 31.
The President, popularly known as Jokowi, welcomed the increase in bilateral trade between both countries in 2021 which went up 87 percent compared to 2020.
“This gives hope for post-pandemic economic recovery. I believe there is still room for improvement,” Jokowi added.
Still in the trade and investment sector, he also welcomed the introduction of a feasibility study to establish a potential trade agreement between both countries.
He stressed the importance of establishing an agreement to facilitate and provide security for investors from both nations. Concerning that, Jokowi has assigned a state-own enterprises minister, energy and mineral resources minister, trade minister, as well as a delegation of the Indonesian chambers of commerce and industry to carry out a trade mission and investment in Papua New Guinea soon.
He is of the view that the two countries must strengthen the connectivity on land, sea, and air. He hoped that there would be opportunities for the Indonesian construction companies to build facilities in Papua New Guinea.
“Besides, the defense sector will also open up more opportunities in the defense industry,” said Jokowi.
Indonesia is also ready to support Papua New Guinea’s efforts in the health sector through partnerships with the food and drug authorities. Indonesian pharmaceutical companies also eye the Papua New Guinea market to distribute their products.
“We also discussed the synergy to increase cooperation with South Pacific countries, including sustainable development, climate change, renewable energy, and maritime affairs, disaster management, which are challenging to the archipelagic countries in the Pacific.”
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