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Indonesia and Sri Lanka are exploring a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) to increase cooperation and investments, katadata reported.

The establishment of a joint study has been agreed on at an inter-governmental meeting held between the two countries in Colombo.

The Indonesian delegation was led by the Director General of International Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Commerce Iman Pambagyo. The Sri Lankan delegation was represented by the Ministry for Strategic and International Trade Development.

“The establishment of a joint study will examine the benefits of PTA for both countries,” said Iman in his official statement on Friday

According to him, the exploration of the establishment of a trade agreement is the right step because it can expand the access padar and increase trade cooperation with non-traditional countries, especially in South Asia.

The establishment of a joint study is the first step that will be followed by the first round of talks. The aim is to create more concrete trade cooperation between the two countries.

In addition, the Indonesian delegation also proposed reference terms and conditions by establishing an official forum in discussing trade and investment issues under the name Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI).

“The formation of WGTI is expected to be a forum for both countries to maximize the potential and discuss trade barriers faced today,” said Iman.

Iman also confessed to having met with the CEO of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dhara Wijayatilake to explore the expansion of Indonesian companies’ business with Sri Lankan companies. This meeting allows the implementation of business forums of both countries that can be done by the business world to increase trade.

The establishment of the PTA trade agreement is a follow-up of the visit of Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena who met with President Jokowi in Jakarta last March.

According to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS), the total trade between the two countries last year reached US $ 306.5 million with a surplus for Indonesia of US $ 217.9 million. Indonesia’s main export commodities are tobacco, paper, rubber, and cement.

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