Mon, 23 May 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is exploring the possibility of expanding its export markets in European countries through Serbia, a country located on the crossroads between Central and Southeast Europe.

Serbia has great potential to become an entry gate to reach more markets in Europe because of its strategic location and primary land and water distribution lines, Deputy Trade Minister Mahendra Siregar said here on Friday.

"During an official tour with domestic cocoa and palmoil businessmen , we held talks with the parties concerned there on the possibility of direct marketing and making the country the place for transfer of shipments for distribution in other regions in Europe," he said.

He said Serbia was a potential market for Indonesian palm oil and cocoa.

After the government had improved the image of Indonesian palmoil, he said, Serbia could become a new access for expanding Indonesia`s palmoil market to the European region.

"This makes us more confident to expand markets and make breakthroughs because we no longer depend on marketing access used so far," he said.

He said so far Rotterdam (in the Netherlands) and Hamburg (in Germany) have been the access to Europe through East Europe. "Now we have seen a lot of new direct access which could be reached such as through regions in the Balkan and East and Southeast Europe," he said.

Countries in the European region are Indonesia`s potential trade partners as seen from the value of trade between Indonesia and 27 members of the European Union that tends to increase from year to year.

According to the data at the ministry of trade the total value of Indonesian trade with 27 European Union member countries in 2010 reached US$26.99 billion rising by 21.3 percent from the year before.

Indonesia`s exports in 2010 were recorded at US$17.14 billion and imports at US$9.86 billion.

Indonesia has always recorded a surplus in its trade with the European Union from 2006 to 2010.

In 2010, the surplus reached US$7.26 billion, up 48 percent from the year before. Meanwhile in January 2011 the surplus reached US$953.8 million.

Indonesia mainly exports palmoil and its derivative products, copper, rubber, coal, footwear, plastic, furniture and copra while it imports mainly electronic equipment, aircraft, motor vehicles, machinery and medicines