Tue, 16 Aug 1994

Minister Joedono to lead trade mission abroad

JAKARTA (JP): Minister of Trade Satrio B. Joedono will lead trade missions to Australia later this month and to African countries next month to promote Indonesia's exports, an official said here yesterday.

Chairman of the National Agency for Export Development (NAFED) Rudy Lengkong, in a ceremony for the introduction of an Indonesian Textile Directory, said that the minister will leave Jakarta for Australia on Aug. 24.

The director contains more than 3,500 producers of textiles and textile products throughout the country.

Rudy said next month's mission to Africa will go to a number of countries on the continent, including South Africa and Kenya.

Indonesia and South Africa, which opened diplomatic ties earlier this year, announced last week that relations would be raised to the full, ambassadorial level.

Rudy said the missions are aimed mainly at diversifying the markets of Indonesia's non-oil exports, whose growth has declined since last year.

Indonesia's non-oil exports, which used to increase by more than 20 percent per annum, rose only 16.2 percent to US$27.07 billion last year from $23.29 billion in 1992.

The NAFED chief said Australia, for example, will be a good market for Indonesian textiles and textile products because it does not impose any quota on such products.

Minister of Information Harmoko, after a cabinet meeting earlier this month, said that Indonesia's exports of textiles and textile products during the first four months of this year declined by 25.6 percent from the same period last year.

Rudy said yesterday that textile exports to Singapore and Germany, the second and third largest importers of those products, decreased by 74.6 percent and 30.3 percent respectively during the January-April period.

Handoko Tjokrosaputro, chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), the publisher of the textile directory, said yesterday that the government should offer incentives to textile producers to encourage them to increase exports.

"The government, for example, could exempt textile producers from value added tax (VAT)," he said.

The government, under a tax law, imposes a 10 percent VAT on industrial products and imports.(rid)