BANDUNG–West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan (Aher) is scheduled to attend and sign a MOu between regional government of West Java Province and Souss Massa Region on Tuesday (18/04/2017) at local time in Meknes, Morocco. The cooperation that will be signed are in the field of small and medium enterprise development, fisheries, tourism, trade and investment, arts and culture, education and other fields.
Additionally, Aher is also scheduled to attend a meeting with the President of Souss Massa Region, the Kingdom of Morocco Mr. Brahim Hafidi, Wali of Souss Massa Region, Mrs. Zineb El Adaoui, and Rector of Ibn Zohour University, Professor Omar Halli.
Deputy Chairman of West Java Parliament, Head of Investment and Licensing One Stop Service of West Java Province, Dadang Masoem, Head of Industry and Commerce of West Java province, Hening Widiatmoko, also attended the meeting to explain business opportunities in West Java.
Government Bureau Chief and Cooperation Secretariat of West Java Province, M. Taufiq Budi Santosa who participated in the group said that this is the first step to improve relations among citizens or "people to people contacts" that produced a greater understanding between the two countries.
"Morocco was selected due to their geography that allows to be the gateway for the entry of various products of Indonesia to a number of neighboring countries and the north western region of Africa such as Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, and a number of other free trade partner countries such as Turkey, European Union countries and the United States. It is expected that this partnership can be an entrance for the main export products of West Java to these countries and vice versa," said Taufiq via telephone from Morocco, on Monday (17/04/2017) at local time.
According to him, the group visit at that time was a very good momentum and positioned to increase cooperation in economic, trade, business and investment. The focus is cooperation on trade and investment that aims to increase the trade volume to optimize the opportunities for commodity marketing and other potential products that can be marketed in both regions.
West Java potential commodity products that can be marketed and developed to be marketing to Souss Massa consists of coffee and tea products, funitur products and handicrafts made from wood, halal food marketing and cooperation in facilitation labeling of halal products in West Java as well as the opening of restaurant business in Morocco, footwear and apparel specifically Muslim fashion products.
"Secondly, in the field of tourism, is the presence of Indonesian policy on visa-free Morocco tourist visits for 30 days. This is a good opportunity to encourage the flow of tourists from Morocco to Indonesia, which also becomes an opportunity for West Java," he said.
The third, Taufiq said, is cooperation in education where universities, academic community, as well as students hold an important role in it. "This relationship is expected to form an exchange program of education cooperation students and teachers, joint lecture, as well as sister university," he added.
Taufiq mentioned, in order to improve trade relations between the two countries, in 1988 both signed a trade agreement. However, considering the total trade number between Indonesia and Moroccan in 2016 period amounted to USD 158 million, with total of non-oil exports is USD 95 million and the total of non-oil imports is USD 62.3 million, in terms of non-oil exports and imports showed the country's trade surplus in part of Indonesia.
The number showed a downward trend in total trade between the two countries within the period 2015-2016 which is 20%. Total trade between the two is still growing and still relatively small viewed from the magnitude of the potential and opportunities. The distance between the two countries that are relatively far away is one cause of the low value of trade between the two countries as well as that the entry opportunities for Indonesian products to Moroccan market is often through a third country and vice versa that impacts on higher tax rates.
Thus, the establishment of partnerships in sub-national level is expected to increase the movement of trade activity between the two countries, especially in West Java and Souss Massa. "Therefore, according to Governor of West Java, this meeting is a very good and strategic momentum that should be explored, especially in improving cooperation in economic, trade, and business," he said.