ASTANA – Expanding economic relations between Kazakhstan and Indonesia is the top priority of Indonesian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Rahmat Pramono, he told The Astana Times in an interview to discuss 25 years of bilateral relations.
“My mission is to develop mutually beneficial bilateral relations and cooperation between Indonesia and Kazakhstan. My utmost priority is to expand economic cooperation and trade relations between the two countries, of course, without forgetting political and socio-cultural cooperation,” he said.
The envoy noted Indonesia views Kazakhstan as its most important partner in Central Asia.
In joining the UNSC, Pramono noted Indonesia would display its extensive experience and prove capable of boosting concerted international efforts in creating a peaceful, stable and prosperous world. The country has been a UNSC non-permanent member twice in the past.
Bilateral trade between Indonesia and Kazakhstan is growing steadily each year. In 2017, trade between the countries reached $52.9 million, a 139-percent increase compared to 2016.
“Given the potential and economic size of both countries, I think this figure is small and we need to do more to increase our bilateral trade,” he added.
Indonesia is also an important economic partner for Kazakhstan, with $216.4 million investments in the Central Asian country.
“Over the recent period, an Indonesian company has shown a strong interest in investing in Kazakhstan, particularly in the mining sector. We will try to help them. There’s a lot of opportunities for both countries to develop. We see the opportunity to develop the pharmaceutical industry. As a large producer of coffee, we are trying to promote our coffee companies. The Mayora company has already exported two containers of coffee to Kazakhstan and another 15 containers of coffee scheduled to be imported throughout the remainder of 2018,” he said.
The country offers a lucrative market for Indonesian businesses, providing all necessary conditions for foreign companies. The opening of the logistic route from Lianyunggang to Khorgos has provided new opportunities and faster alternatives for Indonesian businesses to market their products in Kazakhstan.
“In the economic sector, we have the Joint Commission on Economic Relations (JCEC). This year, Kazakhstan will host the joint commission. The JCEC will discuss the trade issues between the two countries and seek solutions for expanding trade relations in the future. Moreover, the JCEC will also be followed by a Business Forum between Indonesian and Kazakh businesspeople. It is for sure that this mechanism will bear a fruitful outcome for the two countries’ relations,” said Pramono.
The Embassy also has series of programmes to promote products in Kazakhstan by taking part in food exhibitions. Indonesia fully supports the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) and is ready to cooperate by providing technical training in Islamic banking and sharia finance.
“I also have the priority to introduce Indonesian culture, arts and dance to the people of Kazakhstan. We have a cultural centre dedicated solely to promoting Indonesian culture and arts. We provide free training in the Indonesian language, culinary of Indonesian delicacies and traditional dance and music,” he said.
Pramono congratulated the Kazakh government and its people for successfully hosting EXPO 2017.
“This was an important milestone for the country. Now, people all over the world know about Kazakhstan more than before,” he noted.
“Over the past 25 years, the relations between Indonesia and Kazakhstan have been fruitful. So, it is our duty to nurture and further develop this friendship and mutually-beneficial relationship in order to bring concrete results to bilateral relations in the future,” he added.
The envoy also said he enjoys living in the Kazakh capital.
“I have been working in Astana since early May 2017. This is my first experience working in this region. I have totally enjoyed these nine months of living here. I walk every day in the morning to work, even when it was minus 39 Celsius. I like walking around the city. I have been travelling to Almaty, Atyrau, Aktau, Baikonur, Kyzylorda, Karaganda, Pavlodar and Temirtau so far. Unfortunately, I have never been to Burabai yet, but I plan to go there soon,” he said.