Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung plan to increase trading between the two nations by more than half, to $5 billion by 2015, as Indonesia hopes to use Vietnam as an entry point to other Southeast Asian nations.
“We see Vietnam as a central hub for Indonesian cooperation with other regions, such as Cambodia and Laos, as well as Vietnam itself,” Yudhoyono said during a joint statement at the State Palace on Wednesday. “Last year the trade volume was $3.3 billion. We have agreed with the prime minister [Nguyen] to increase it to $5 billion before 2015.”
Yudhoyono said that he and Tan Dung agreed to boost interaction between the private sectors of the two countries to boost investment.
Gita Wirjawan, chairman of Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), said Vietnamese investment in Indonesia is still small, at $110,000, but he expects more investment in the future.
Indonesia could benefit from rice shipments from Vietnam, the world’s second-largest exporter of the grain. In turn, Vietnam might purchase coal from Indonesia, which is the world’s second-biggest exporter.
“Future prospects are good, as they have good technology in agriculture and high rice productivity,” Gita said. “So we expect them to invest here on rice and fisheries, as well as their interest to invest in coal.’’
Nguyen said he respected the long established relationship between Indonesia and Vietnam, especially in the nations’ growing trade cooperation.
“We are heading toward a balance in trade now, and we agreed, both of us, to promote trade,” Nguyen said. “Vietnam always welcomes and prepares the best conditions for Indonesian companies. We are also expecting the Indonesian government to support Vietnamese companies in Indonesia.”
Hatta Rajasa, the coordinating minister for the economy, said Indonesia will contribute much to increased trade, by exporting food and beverages, and boosting shipments from the manufacturing industry.
“We don’t want to be trapped into exporting coal only,” Hatta said.
Yudhoyono said aside from addressing trade volume and investment, the two statesmen discussed several other issues including political, legal and security affairs.
“We agreed to intensify the negotiation process regarding the maritime border between our countries,” Yudhoyono said. “We will also intensify coordinated patrols in our waters to secure both countries from unnecessary incidents. We agreed to more effectively cooperate on maritime fisheries, which will bring benefits, such as better prevention of illegal fishing.”
Regarding the joint patrol, Nguyen said both countries would assign related ministries to continue negotiations and ultimately sign the agreement regarding joint maritime patrols and a more extensive naval communication network.
The next maritime border talks are slated to be held in four months.
On food cooperation, Yudhoyono said both nations agreed to cooperation on food that would bring benefits to Vietnam, Indonesia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the world.
“We agreed to draft a cooperation agreement on rice trading for both nations to intensify production and productivity,” Yudhoyono said. “So that Vietnam and Indonesia can contribute to the rice supply in Asia.”