JAKARTA: More robust trade between Indonesia and the Philippines, particularly within the areas of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (BIMP) sub-regional grouping, is expected with the soon-to-be-launched Davao-General Santos-Bitung roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) cargo route and increased marketing initiatives.
“During the last five years, the trade between the Philippine and Indonesia was only $4.5 billion with a growth rate of less than 1%,” Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu said during the opening of the 1st Indonesian Food and Beverage Expo (IFBE) at the House of Indonesia.
The annual trade growth between the two countries, he said, was no more than 0.41% in the last five years, with Indonesia ranking 9th in 2015 among the Philippines’ trade partners, way below Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
“Two weeks after my arrival in Davao I visited several cities in Mindanao and found out that some Indonesian products were already in the market,” he said.
Unfortunately, he added, some of these were shipped in through other countries, which do not get counted as part of the direct trade data.
Napitupulu said Filipino awareness of Indonesian products also seems to be low, which is why he initiated the IFBE alongside the Indonesian Culinary Festival at the Marco Polo Hotel from March 17-19.
Other events in the pipeline include trade promotion, art and cultural expo, business forum and seminars.