TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo met today, March 31, with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, at Bogor Palace in West Java. After the bilateral meeting, he assigned a mission to a number of ministers as well as delegations from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN).
“To carry out a trade and investment mission to PNG (Papua New Guinea) in the near future,” the president said during a press conference with James on Thursday, March 30.
The mission was entrusted following the launch of a feasibility study for the establishment of a preferential trade agreement between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
According to Jokowi, the bilateral investment agreement is highly necessary “to facilitate and provide security for investors from both countries”.
In front of James, the Head of State also declared his readiness to reopen the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea which had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to restore cross-border trade and to revive the economy of people living in border areas.
The reopening of the border was initiated amid growing economic activity between the two countries, even during the lingering pandemic. Indonesia, he added, welcomed the increase in trade between the two countries in 2021, which increased by 87% compared to the previous year.
That figure, Jokowi said, was also higher than the pre-pandemic trade value. “It presents hope and optimism for post-pandemic economic recovery and I think there are still many opportunities that can be improved,” he said.
Read: Border trade between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea reopens after restriction