Jakarta — The Indonesian government has expressed its intention to explore the potential of 21 members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), following the summit of the group in Jakarta early this week, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said. The agreement will be followed by bilateral agreements with each government of the group, particularly countries that have potential for Indonesian products, said Enggar in Jakarta, Friday (10/03). Similar optimism was expressed by Sasmito Hadi Wibowo, Central Statistics Agency’s (BPS) deputy for distribution and service affairs, who said that each member country was a potential market for Indonesian products. Indonesia has not seriously explored the market potential of countries because relevant parties previously preferred to focus on the traditional markets like the United States, North Asia, Japan, China and European countries, he added. For example, the potential market in Africa reached US$550 billion in 2016, but Indonesia could only obtain US$4.2 billion. While the potential market in the Middle East reached US$975 billion, but Indonesia could only gain US$5 billion. “There will be no surprise [in the near future], but we have to catch the market, we have to know the characteristics of the market, while we are introducing our products,” Sasmito said. Enggar added most IORA members were developing countries that had high economic growth and high inflation. “We have great opportunities to expand our market to follow President Joko Widodo’s instruction to open new markets for our products,” he added.