Describing the current level of relations between the two countries as “unacceptable” and calling for its strengthening, Raeisi said several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) will be signed covering areas including economy, trade, customs, culture, and health.
Stressing that both Muslim countries are seeking a stable peace in the region, the Iranian President added, “Cooperating with friendly nations are among the policies of the incumbent government.”
Heading a high-ranking delegation, Raeisi’s three-day visit will be made upon an official invitation by his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo.
President Raeisi will also hold meetings with speakers of the People’s Representative Council and the People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia.
Meeting with Iranian and Indonesian businessmen, scholars, intellectuals as well as Iranian expatriates in Indonesia will also be on Raeisi’s agenda.
The Indonesian Trade Ministry announced on Wednesday that Jakarta and Tehran have concluded the final stage of negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement. The announcement came after the two sides finished a seventh round of talks.
Dubbed the “Indonesia-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement” (II-PTA), the trade deal will be signed on Tuesday during President Raeisi’s stay in Jakarta to improve trade relations and boost the trade value, the Borneo Bulletin reported.
“Iran is a non-traditional trade partner for Indonesia. With this PTA, we hope to widen our export opportunities and expand our market reach,” said the Ministry’s Director of Bilateral Negotiations Johni Martha.
“This will be the second agreement between Indonesia and the Middle East region — (with the first) signed on July 1, 2022, which is the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE,” the Ministry’s Director General of International Trade Negotiations Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono said here on Monday.
The PTA signing will continue with the ratification process, with each country formulating its own mechanism, Antara news agency wrote.
The products that will be listed in the PTA will include processed foods, pharmaceutical products, rubber, paper, textiles, wood, footwear, cotton, electrical machinery, motorized vehicles, manufacturing products, chemicals, and aluminum.
“Indonesia will provide lower tariff facilities for several products originating from Iran, including mineral fuel, oil and its derivatives, chemicals, steel, pharmaceuticals, mechanical equipment, fruits, processed foods, nuts, and wheat,” Djatmiko said.
“We see Iran as a gateway to Central Asia. We already have (a trade agreement) with the UAE, but by entering Iran, we can enter surrounding areas such as Azerbaijan and even Turkey because we do not have a trade agreement with Turkey yet,” he said.
A total of 1.81 million tons of non-oil goods, worth $965 million, were traded between the two countries in the previous Iranian calendar year of 1401 (ended March 20, 2023), the spokesman of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) Rouhollah Latifi told IRNA.
Ahead of President Raeisi’s arrival in Jakarta, the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian published an op-ed published in Indonesia’s ‘The Jakarta Post’ English-language newspaper on May 22, describing the visit to Jakarta as a “turning point” in the bilateral relations between the two Muslim states.
Recognizing the need to strengthen regional relations, Amir-Abdollahian commended the performance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and emphasized Iran’s willingness to develop relations with other member states of the regional bloc within the framework of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation signed between the two sides in 2017.
“We consider Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN an optimal opportunity for developing relations with the other member states of this progressive grouping. We also welcome the possibility of regional connections between ASEAN and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in West Asia.”