Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Agus Widjojo on Tuesday said Indonesia is eyeing to increase its collaboration with the Philippine government and private sectors in exploring new opportunities.
During a lunch with media partners on Tuesday, Widjojo said his government is looking to increase the involvement of Indonesian state-owned enterprises in local projects in infrastructure, transportation, and “strategic industries.”
“The Philippines is an important trading partner for Indonesia. With a total bilateral trade value of USD9.5 billion in 2021, an export value of USD8.6 billion and import value of USD1.2 billion. This makes Indonesia’s trade balance surplus at the level of USD7.3 billion,” he said.
Despite some challenges such as connectivity and trade balance between the two countries, he said there was a “wide range of opportunities” in strengthening economic cooperation.
To make logistical transfer easier between the two countries, he said the Indonesian government is encouraging connectivity between the Southern Philippines and Eastern Indonesia through activating air and sea transportation routes.
He said Indonesia is also looking to promote collaboration between businesses and creating a “joint-balance” program in improving trade relations to “reflect mutually beneficial trade relations.”
“Marked by various high-level cooperation in various fields, both in bilateral, regional, and multilateral context. Indonesia and the Philippines continue to strengthen bilateral relations by seeking ways and means for mutually beneficial cooperation,” he said.
‘No foreseeable problems’
Following a recent courtesy call on President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., he said the relations between the two countries will remain strong and there are no “foreseeable” problems that may come up with the incoming administration.
“We are member states of Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and I think again, with that we have the same spirit, the culture of collaboration and cooperation within Asean,” he said.
On June 6, Marcos met with several diplomats, including Widjojo, and discussed economic matters and response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Widjojo became the Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines in January and presented his credentials to President Rodrigo Duterte on May 25. (PNA)