Indonesia and Cuba are actually potential business partners, the trade volume between both countries has been increasing ever since 2005. In fact, in 2008 the trade figure had reached 13,458 million dollars, the highest ever. Both countries agree that this can be increased should there be better knowledge on each country’s products and if an increase could be achieved in direct trade transactions.
These conclusions were reached during the seminar on Indonesia-Cuba: Expanding Business Opportunities held by the Indonesian Embassy in Cuba in coordination with the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, at the Hotel Meliá Habana in Havana on Thursday, June 25th this year.
The Seminar that was opened by the President of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce and the Indonesian Ambassador to Cuba, was attended by 50 guests, among whom the Vice-Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Cuban State Enterprises, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, officials of the Foreign Ministry as well as journalists.
In his speech at the inauguration of the seminar, the Indonesian Ambassador to Cuba, H.E. Mr. Banua Radja Manik, stated that relations between Indonesia and Cuba that will reach exactly half a century this up-coming 2010, have been good. This, he said was to be seen in the mutual support in several international forums, the visits by high officials, the mutual aid offered at moments of natural disasters, and in the collaboration in the spheres of sports, health and culture. These close relations could be the strong basis to increase trade which has as yet not reached maximum levels. It is therefore that seminars such as this one become the scenery for both parties to exchange views and information, particularly to identify the problems and obstacles as well as the solutions for these, in order to facilitate a further increase of trade relations between both countries.
Present at the Seminar, as a specialist was the Director of the Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Mexico City, Ikhwan Aman. In his explanations, the Director of the ITPC referred to Indonesia’s main products (shrimps, coffee, palm oil, cocoa, rubber, textiles, and automobile components), potentials (handicraft, fishery, leather, jewelry, spices, non-paper writing material and medical instruments) as well as to the services offered to buyers or potential buyers. In this context, an invitation was also conveyed to visit the Indonesia Trade Expo to be held in Jakarta from October 28th till November 1st 2009.
In turn, the Director for International Relations of the Cuban Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Ponte, announced that Cuba is actually interested in, and needs, products from Indonesia, but that the purchasing of these is made difficult due to the limitations of the government’s budget.
The participants at the Seminar agreed that the Seminar represented an appropriate first step towards finding solutions for the obstacles in trade relations between Indonesia and Cuba.
While the seminar was being held, several Indonesian products were displayed including packaged food, detergents, footwear, handicraft articles, batik articles, furniture, as well as electronic equipment. An information kit, including a folder on Indonesian products, a multimedia DVD, information on products presented by the ITPC and statistic information on trade between Indonesia and Cuba was handed to each participant.
(Source: Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Havana, Cuba)