Indonesian Trade Vice Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi arrived in Manila on Thursday to witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries’ leading seaweed organizations, Asosiasi Rumput Laut Indonesia and the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines.
Aside from the cooperation to develop the seaweed industry, another milestone in Philippine-Indonesia relations is the roll-on roll-off (RORO) service to Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which will soon be available with establishment of the Davao-GenSan-Bitung Ro-Ro route. The first Asean RoRo aims to further increase trade and economic activities between the two countries.
Both countries are also exploring cooperation in other areas including steel, geothermal, shipbuilding, chocolate and cacao production, and trade promotion activities in the East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
“This MOU is a result of continuing discussions between the Philippines and Indonesia to expand trade relations and investment. We are forging deeper economic ties between the two countries by significantly exploring other avenues for complementation and collaboration. We have made progress in the areas of sea connectivity, and exploring mining and palm oil,” Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr said.
Cristobal added that the country’s international trade strategy promotes the interests of the Philippines in the global community with the goal of generating more investments, creating meaningful employment opportunities and providing better sources of livelihood.
Indonesian Ambassador to the Philippines Johny J. Lumintang joined Undersecretary Cristobal and Vice Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi during the signing ceremony.
The collaborative partnership between the Asosiasi Rumput Laut Indonesia (ARLI) and the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines (SIAP) will include sharing of good farming practices and cultivating enhancement and marketing expansion practices. Both SIAP and ARLI envision the possibility of investments or joint ventures in seaweed farming and processing in either country.
Indonesia and the Philippines are the two top sources of seaweeds in Asean.
Within Asean, the Philippines and Indonesia together account for 343 million people, or more than half the 617 million total population of the region.
Philippine companies in Indonesia are engaged in food and food processing, personal care products, manpower services and consulting, pharmaceuticals, and energy research and exploration.
In recent years, Philippine franchises including Potato Corner, Gingersnaps, Penshoppe and Julie’s Bakeshop have also established a foothold in Indonesia.