Top business leaders of Indonesia have expressed hope that the free trade agreement with Bangladesh will be signed soon.
They said Indonesian investors are interested in investing in Bangladesh's power, energy, transportation, infrastructure, and tourism sectors.
They were speaking at an online discussion attended by top business leaders and ambassadors of the two countries on Monday (October 5). It was organised by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
Speakers at the discussion said that trade between Bangladesh and Indonesia was $1.8 billion in the financial year 2019-20.
FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said there was an opportunity to increase the volume of this trade.
He said bilateral initiatives could be taken in the fields of medicine, agriculture, jute products, leather products, electricity, and minerals to boost trade between the two countries.
Rina P Soemarno, Indonesian ambassador to Bangladesh, said bilateral trade between the two countries would increase over time.
"We will be able to reach a constructive agreement within the next few months," said the envoy, adding that the coronavirus pandemic was delaying the free trade agreement.
Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, president of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), gave an assurance of cooperation for economic recovery in the fight against the pandemic.
"The ongoing discussion on a free trade agreement with Bangladesh will soon be finalised. This will improve trade relations between the two countries."
Major General Azmal Kabir, OSP, psc (Retd), Bangladesh ambassador to Indonesia, urged representatives of public and private sectors to utilise both sectors for mutually inclusive bilateral trade.
According to sources at the Ministry of Commerce, work is underway to finish 22 steps to sign a free trade agreement with Indonesia.
The contract is currently at the technical stage, and officials of the two countries are holding talks as part of that.