Peace, security, trade top PRRD meeting with Joko

BANGKOK President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo discussed continuous cooperation in securing peace and order, and to jointly fight terrorism, illegal drugs and corruption, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

Duterte and Widodo held a bilateral meeting here on Saturday evening but it was off-limits to the media.

Lopez did not provide much detail on security issues but added that on the economic side, Duterte and the Indonesian President have asked their Trade officials to address the imposition of the Philippines of a safeguard measure against coffee imports from Indonesia.

The safeguard measure, Lopez said, was due to the lower import price, which is below the set trigger price of PHP203.74 per kilo set by the Philippines.

The lower import price has led to higher imports affecting local manufacturers in the Philippines, he said.

The issue on the Philippines' policy on Indonesian coffee also prompted a review of the current restrictive market access of Philippine products to Indonesia, Lopez said.

The current trade imbalance (is) in favor of Indonesia, prompting trade officials from both countries to find ways to narrow the trade gap while growing two-way trade. It was agreed that greater efforts must be done to allow more Philippine products to access the Indonesian market, he added.

Lopez said even before the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Widodo, Philippine and Indonesian officials already had meetings on Friday to address such issues.

(We) agreed to have more Indonesian market access for Agri-based products such as bananas, shallots, coconut products, food and beverages and industrial products such as auto parts, among others to grow more the Philippine exports. There is also the commitment to put up a Kopiko coffee processing plant in the Philippines, he said.

Lopez said Widodo was also told during the bilateral meeting that Indonesian products such as instant coffee, automotive and construction materials continue to penetrate the Philippine market.

Indonesia's openness to narrow down the trade gap and have a more balanced and mutually beneficial trade relationship are seen to grow the total trade between the two countries, he added, without citing any figure. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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