Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi. (Photo: Reuters)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesia and Nigeria need to bolster bilateral trade relations and investment, said Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi on June 5.

The official made the statement during her meeting with her Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja, Nigeria, according to Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Indonesia-Nigeria ties have been thriving for 52 years, benefiting people of the two countries, while potential for trade cooperation and investment between the two remains high.

The two countries need to enhance bilateral trade cooperation through preferential trade agreements, the Indonesian minister added.

To improve market access for Indonesian products in West African countries, Retno expressed her hope that Nigeria will help Indonesia form a preferential trade agreement between Indonesia and the Economic Community of West African States.

Lowering tariffs and eliminating non-tariff barriers will increase bilateral trade, as well as trade between Indonesia and countries in West Africa.

Nigeria is the largest oil importer of Indonesia in southern Saharan Africa. During the meeting, two ministers also discussed measures to improve oil and gas trade, which until now is done via a third country.

Retno proposed the two countries form a direct trade mechanism for oil and gas and devise a trade plan to boost bilateral trade.

Nigeria has strived to diversify its economy via agriculture and palm cultivation. Indonesia said it is ready to cooperate in palm oil industry development in Nigeria and invites the country to join the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries, established by Indonesia and Malaysia.

Nigeria is Indonesia’s biggest trade partner in southern Saharan Africa, with bilateral trade value reaching 1.5 billion USD last year.-VNA