JAKARTA - The governments of Indonesia and the Philippines have agreed to strengthen their cooperation and reduce trade barriers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion between the two countries took place at the virtual meeting of The Joint Working Group on Trade, Investments, Handicrafts, and Shipping (JWG-TIHS), yesterday.

Iman Pambagyo, Director General of International Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Trade, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economies of Indonesia and the Philippines. "At the JWG meeting, the delegations agreed to strengthen collaboration and cooperation and find solutions to trade issues," he said.

According to him, the trade issues discussed by the Indonesian delegation included the use of special safeguard (SSG) instruments for instant coffee products, plans for investigating safeguards on imported vehicles, and registration of pharmaceutical products to the Philippine food and drugs administration (FDA) during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, the Philippines delegation raised the issue of exporting agricultural, animal husbandry and processed beverages products to Indonesia.

In the first semester of 2020, Indonesia recorded a trade of US$ 2.9 billion with the Philippines. Indonesian exports were recorded at US$ 2.6 billion and imports were recorded at US$ 283 million, which means that Indonesia recorded a surplus of US$ 2.3 billion. (LK/AR)