Source: Bloomberg
Source: Bloomberg

Indonesia has decided to open its market for Indian rice, pharmaceuticals and bovine meat, a big breakthrough for the country to diversify its export basket to the Southeast Asian nation with which India has a huge trade deficit.

The Trade Minister of Indonesia Thomas Lembong told Indian Ambassador Gurjit Singh yesterday that President Jokowi (Joko Widodo) has decided to include India in the list of countries from which import of rice can be authorised and market access for pharmaceuticals and bovine meat can be granted.

The Indian Embassy in Jakarta has been striving hard to seek a G2G channel for export of rice to Indonesia. Both sides are about to strike a deal for supply of rice to Indonesia.

Singh said that given the steadfast relationship between the two countries, India will standby with Indonesia to overcome the rice shortage due to drought, a statement said.

This is a big breakthrough for India, the world’s biggest rice producer after China, as it will be diversifying its export basket to Indonesia with which there is a huge trade deficit, the statement said.

Indonesia has agreed to purchase pharmaceutical products from India which is known for its high quality and price affordability. Jokowi’s government is deliberating on this to overcome the financial burden in connection with the issue of health cards to Indonesians.

India has been exploring the possibilities of export of Indian bovine meat to Indonesia since 1999. The Indonesian side has not acceded citing Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

However, with the OIE —world organisation for animal health— certification that India is having an official control programme for FMD, a high—level delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture of Indonesia visited India in September 2015 and examined meat production facilities and quarantine issues.

The Indonesian government is expected to amend the law to allow market access for Indian bovine meat very soon.