By the invitation from Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa Delgado, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono paid his first state visit to Ecuador since the opening of diplomatic relationship in 1980. President Yudhoyono’s visit (22-24/06) etches some important meaning to the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
President Correa underlined Indonesia’s strategic importance for Ecuador. “Indonesia is an economic and political bridge between Southeast Asian Countries and Australia”, he said. The Ecuadorian Embassy in Jakarta that serves both Indonesia and Australia proves such belief.
In the bilateral meeting, President Correa revealed his wish to learn on how to manage land and marine security as an archipelago.
The Presidents both commemorated the 32nd year of bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Ecuador that has been established since 28 April 1980 and agreed to carry forward an active and dynamic relationship both at bilateral and multilateral levels.
They also agreed to push for a breakthrough in multiplying trade value by using each country’s geographical position as a gate for trade products in the region, such as ASEAN, Mercado Comun del Sur (Mercosur), Andean Community of Nations (CAN), Latin American Integration Association (ALADI).
In 2011, bilateral trade between the two increased as much as 40% to USD 96 million, and Indonesia gained a surplus of USD 83 million. Indonesia’s main export commodities to Ecuador consist of mining equipment, coffee, natural rubber, synthetic filament yarn, carbon paper, tire and battery.
In terms of investment, they emphasized the need of cooperation in energy, telecommunication and tourism sectors.
In energy sectors, the recent success of Bakrie Kalila Group to obtain concession over 3 oil fields in Orienta Basin in Lago Agriyo, Guanta and Parahuacu blocks that involves 65 million barrels of oil and USD 350 million of investment attests to the increasing investment relationship between the two countries in energy.
The Ecuador government encourages Indonesian investors to continue investing in Manta-Manaos Coridor project—a transportation corridor that stretches between the Manta Port in Ecuador and Manaos Port in Brazil.
This project is a part of a bigger plan to connect the Latin America with the Asian market through the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
President Yudhoyono also had a breakfast meeting with Ecuadorian Ministers that oversee the economic sector (Minister of Trade and Minister of Finance), officials of Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) and Industry, Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI), some Indonesian entrepreneurs and their Ecuadorian partners.
The meeting dwelled on various trade, investment and tourism potentials in order to promote economic relationship between the two countries. It also discovered interest from a number of local Ecuadorian entrepreneurs to import garments, cars (Innova), motorcycles and spare parts from Indonesia.
In socio-cultural sector, both Presidents share a similar view on efforts of developing the economy and environment. “Indonesian government supports the effort from Ecuadorian government to preserve the forests (Yasuni ITT initiative) by promising financial assistance,” President Yudhoyono said.
To increase people-to-people contact between the two nations, President Yudhoyono and President Correa also endorse a number of ongoing programs, such as Dharmasiswa (scholarship) program from Indonesia, and agreed to hold cooperation in sports.
The two also witnessed the signing of an agreement on trade and investment between Indonesian Minister of Trade and Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration and another agreement concerning joint activities to promote bilateral relationship between the two countries held between Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ecuadorian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration.
Both Presidents also published and signed a “Commemoration Cover” to commemorate the first state visit of Indonesian President to Ecuador. (Source: Indonesian Embassy in Quito/Directorate of Information/PLE/PY)