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JAKARTA: Indonesia is introducing a wide range of its national products to the Saudi market through shops established across the Kingdom, an Indonesian Embassy official has said, following the latest store opening in Riyadh.

There are dozens of Indonesian stores established in various Saudi cities, including in Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and Alkhobar.

The latest shop to join the list is the Indonesia Market, which was inaugurated last week by the Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Abdul Aziz Ahmad and Suhanto, secretary-general at the Indonesian Ministry of Trade.

“Now there are 24 Indonesian stores in Riyadh, and the number keeps on growing. This growth shows that Indonesian products have garnered an interest and are accepted in Saudi Arabia,” Ihsan Nugroho, economic and trade consul at the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“We are hoping that in the future Indonesian stores will serve as a bridge for the entry of Indonesian products (to Saudi Arabia), especially those coming from small and medium enterprises.”

Indonesian stores in the Kingdom also symbolized good relations between the two countries, Nugroho said, adding that snacks, biscuits and other food items are popular.

“Many of our products from small and medium enterprises are of high quality and value, but they are not too well-known in the Saudi market. For that reason, we hope that Indonesian stores can accelerate the introduction of these products in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The Indonesian Trade Ministry is also supportive of the opening of such shops, as they help promote Indonesian goods and contribute to increase in exports.

“The secretary-general (Suhanto) also stressed the need to speed up the process for an Indonesia-Saudi Arabia trade pact in order to boost the competitiveness of Indonesian products in the Saudi market,” the ministry said in a statement.

Indonesia has been seeking to enhance its trade ties with Saudi Arabia and gain a greater presence in the Middle East.

President Joko Widodo and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had discussed the formation of a negotiation team for the Indonesia-Saudi Arabia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement during the former’s visit to Riyadh in October.

Saudi Arabia is “always an important trade partner for Indonesia,” Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan said after the meeting.

Saudi-Indonesia trade has been on the rise, increasing by about 45 percent to $7 billion, between January and November last year, compared to the same period in the previous year.

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