As the Covid pandemic hit expected growth in trade and investment in the past two years, Jakarta hopes the bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Indonesia will cross the $2 billion mark this year, said Heru Hartanto Subolo, Indonesian Ambassador in Dhaka, Thursday.
He was speaking to the media while visiting Jamia Ashrafia Madrasa and Orphanage at Baridhara and Kalachadpur Dakhil Madrasa and Orphanage at the capital's North Baridhara. During the visit, the envoy also distributed Eid gifts among the orphans of the religious institutions.
He said rich people of society should share some portion of their wealth with the poor as per guidelines and instructions of Islam.
Since economies of both Indonesia and Bangladesh have successfully overcome the impact of the pandemic and got on the right track, Subolo said the bilateral trade is expected to cross the $3 billion mark within a few years.
In FY2020-21, the import-export trade between Indonesia and Bangladesh stood at $1.9 billion, which has a huge potential for further growth.
He said Indonesia has a large market for Bangladeshi medicines, agricultural products, poultry, jute and leather goods, and footwear.
Laying emphasis on signing free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh, Subolo said Dhaka and Jakarta would work towards signing an FTA in the shortest possible time.
He said negotiations are also underway on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Bangladesh.
The envoy also expressed hope that business communities of both the countries would harness the potential of the bilateral trade.
Subolo said Indonesian entrepreneurs are interested in investing in Bangladesh through joint ventures in the pharmaceutical and SME sectors.
He said a delegation led by the country's industry minister or commerce minister will visit Bangladesh this year to explore bilateral trade and investment prospects.
Terming Bangladesh as a rising economic power in the region, the Indonesian diplomat said some 5,000 Bangladeshis are likely to visit Indonesia to explore the natural beauty of the island country. Before corona pandemic, some 1000 Bangladeshis used to visit the Southeast Asian country a year.
Citing the example of Bangladesh, Heru Hartanto Subolo said people irrespective of religion, caste, creed and race live in harmony in this country. Bangladesh is now one of the brightest examples of religious harmony and peace, he said.
Replying to a question on expanding the role the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Subolo expressed hope that the OIC member countries would work together in the greater interest and upliftment of the Muslim Ummah.