To enhance collaboration and bilateral ties in different domains, the Indonesian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Dewi Gustina Tobing met with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the latter’s office in Sri Lanka on March 4, 2023.
During the meeting, Tobing urged her counterpart to initiate talks for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between the two countries to boost bilateral trade, kemlu.go.id reported.
The courtesy visit to the Prime Minister also covered a range of topics related to cooperation, such as exploring opportunities to enhance collaboration between the two countries in areas like trade, investment, and tourism.
Currently, multiple pharmaceutical firms from Indonesia have made bids to supply essential medications to Sri Lanka via this trade financing approach. Tobing urged Sri Lanka to accelerate its efforts in organizing the procurement of medicines and medical equipment from Indonesia.
Gunawardena expressed his desire for Indonesian investment to flow into Sri Lanka, specifically in industries such as pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, and solar batteries in the export industrial zone. He also highlighted the various incentives that Sri Lanka provides to foreign investors.
Furthermore, he also pointed out that Indonesia’s key industries, such as aluminum, rattan furniture, and batik, could offer support to Sri Lanka’s industries.
Palm oil problem
Tobing called on Sri Lanka to reconsider its policy that prohibits the cultivation of oil palm. During the meeting, she highlighted the significant economic benefits that the palm oil industry has brought to Indonesia, as well as the efforts made to implement sustainable practices through the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) program.
She also conveyed Indonesia’s willingness to support Sri Lanka in developing its own palm oil industry through knowledge-sharing and best practices.
Indonesia-Sri Lanka trade volume
According to data from the International Trade Centre (ITC), the total trade volume between Indonesia and Sri Lanka for the past five years is as follows:
|Year||Total trade volume (in million US$)|
The total trade volume between the two countries has fluctuated slightly over the past five years, but has remained relatively stable overall. It’s worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had an impact on trade volumes in 2020 and 2021.
Indonesia-Sri Lanka tourism
Based on data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the number of Indonesian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for the past five years (2019-2023) are as follows:
|Year||FDI inflows (in million US$)|
|2023||138 (as of January)|