Mardika Parama, Jakarta – Indonesia is targeting to attract 2.5 million visitors to its pavilion in one of the oldest global events, the World Expo, which will be held in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), next year, as it aims to boost cooperation in trade and investment with Middle Eastern and African countries.
Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto reiterated on Thursday that Indonesia would still participate in the event, which is held every five years, despite a year-long postponement to October 2021 from this year, due to the COVID-19 global crisis. The event is scheduled to last until March 2022.
Indonesia is set to have a 3,000-square-meter pavilion, joining 192 participating countries that will promote their tourism, culture, economy and technological achievements, Agus said. The Indonesian pavilion is set to combine the futuristic and the traditional, according to the Trade Ministry.
"We will exhibit and promote trade, tourism and investment with Indonesia [at the pavilion], as well as introduce our Golden Indonesia 2045 Vision," he said during the broadcasted Indonesia's pavilion mascot and logo unveiling event on Thursday, referring to Indonesia's 100-year independence milestone.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has instructed his ministers to take advantage of the event to expand Indonesia's trade partnership, especially with emerging economies in the Middle East and the Africa region, according to the minister.
The statement came as the country struggled with slowing global trade as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indonesia's total exports from January to August stood at US$103.16 billion, a 6.51 percent year-on-year (yoy) drop from the same period last year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data shows. Imports, meanwhile, fell by 18.06 percent yoy to $92.11 billion in the same period.
Indonesia's trade value with the UEA fell by 19.96 percent yoy to $1.68 billion between January and July this year, Trade Ministry data shows. In the same period, Indonesian exports to the UEA fell by 10.1 percent yoy and imports by 26.52 percent yoy.
Last year, Indonesia's trade value with the UEA reached $3.65 billion, with exports of $1.47 billion and imports of $2.18 billion. Most of the exported products were jewelry, cars and other motor vehicles for transport and palm oil, among other items.
From January to July, Indonesia also booked a 23.84 percent decrease yoy in trade value with Saudi Arabia at $2.27 billion, with exports falling by 8.46 percent yoy and imports by 30 percent.
Agus said the expo's postponement has disrupted Indonesia's trade mission to the region.
The ministry previously set a target to export $1.46 billion worth of products to the UAE and $1.7 billion to Saudi Arabia to offset oil and gas trade deficits with the countries.
"Of course, there have been disruptions to our mission [as a result of the delay]. However, I'm optimistic that with the postponement, the event will be more flexible and we could do more business matching and trade deals," he said.
UAE Ambassador to Indonesia Abdullah Salem Obeid Al Dhaheri assured during the unveiling event that the expo would take place next year and the UAE government aimed to attract 24 million visitors during the event.
"The UAE is working hard to make Expo Dubai a prominent platform to showcase human achievements in many fields with more than 200 countries, companies, organizations and educational institutions," he said in a speech.