Foreign Minister underscores importance of economic partnership with Indonesia

FM-DINESH-UNHRC

Ambassador of Indonesia in Colombo I. Gusti Ngurah Ardiyasa paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry recently.  During the discussions, the two dignitaries emphasized the need to further enhance trade ties in a mutually beneficial manner.

While reiterating the long-standing, multifaceted ties between the two countries, Minister Gunawardena appreciated the strong friendship and assistance rendered by Indonesia during the difficult times faced by Sri Lanka in the past.

The Ambassador acknowledged the bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between the two countries at bilateral, regional and multilateral platforms and expressed hope that the current ties would further expand and deepen into sectors of contemporary importance.  He underscored the need for enhanced cooperation in the areas of illicit trafficking, cooperation against trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and marine and fisheries cooperation and on voluntary international cooperation to present illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing which promotes sustainable fisheries governance.

Ambassador Ardiyasa expressed his gratitude towards the Government of Sri Lanka for the assistance rendered towards the repatriation of Indonesian nationals in the recent past, during the height of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka and Indonesia have been long standing trading partners. The total trade turnover between Sri Lanka and Indonesia has been increasing since 2017.  In 2019, the value of Sri Lanka’s exports to Indonesia increased by 9.54% on year on year basis. The value of imports which account 427.55 US$ Mn in 2018 increased marginally to 428.27 US$ Mn in 2019. Indonesia was the 45th export market for Sri Lanka with a share of 0.33% in 2019. Apparel was the dominant export item from Sri Lanka to Indonesia, which accounts 19.56% of total exports to Indonesia in 2019. Indonesia was the 9th import partner of Sri Lanka with a share of 2.2% in 2019.

Cement was the major import item from Indonesia to Sri Lanka which accounts for 11.05% of total imports from Indonesia in 2019.  In terms of the growing demand pattern in Indonesia and considering the sustainable supply capacities of Sri Lanka, products such as cinnamon, cloves, black tea, tea, rubber tyres can be further expanded in Indonesia. Sri Lanka has signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Indonesia on 10 June 1996 and it entered into force on 21 July 1997. Sri Lanka signed a double taxation avoidance agreement with Indonesia on 03 February 1993 and it was implemented in Sri Lanka from 1995/1996. Indonesia ranked as the 34th investment partner of Sri Lanka in 2019.

Sri Lanka shares an extensive relationship with Indonesia which goes back in time when recorded history commenced. Pre-colonial historical records note that Vijayotunga, King of Sri Vijaya Empire, had close connections with the Sri Lankan King Vijayabahu (1055-1110) particularly during invasions by Chola in the line of establishing trade links between the two regimes. History further refers that Sri Lankan Kings Kasyapa and Mahendrahad had close connection with Java. The religious link was much greater and the influence of Sri Lankan craftsmen is clearly visible in the sedentary Buddha images found in Java and in Celebes and Borobudhur in Jogjakarta particularly in their simplicity, and the dignified elegant evocation of the concept of the Samadhi Buddha Statue. Special religious connections were maintained by the Sri Lankan King Parakramabahu VI (1411-1466) during the Kingdom of Kotte.

The Ambassador was accompanied by the First Secretary of the Embassy of Indonesia. The Meeting was attended by officials of the Southeast Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry.