Indonesia and Ukraine are set to boost economic relations, expecting trade to double within the next couple of years, envoys said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Trade between the two countries totaled US$1.4 billion last year.
"We hope that in the next couple of years we can double the trade *volume* between our countries, assuming the financial crisis will finish of course," Ukraine deputy foreign minister Olexander Gorin told reporters after attending the second session of the Intergovernmental Indonesian-Ukrainian Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation at the Nikko Hotel in Jakarta.
Gorin and the Foreign Ministry's Director General for America and Europe, Retno L.P. Marsudi, signed Tuesday an agreement on investment protection as well as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and its Ukrainian counterpart.
"We have signed 11 agreements and still have seven draft agreements left to be signed," Retno said, adding bilateral talks between the two countries began in 2005. The head of Kadin's committee for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Didie W Soewondho, said Indonesia aimed to increase its exports to Ukraine.
"Our exports to Ukraine were $500 million last year, while Ukraine's was $900 million," he said.
Indonesia's main export commodities to Ukraine are palm oil, chemicals and plastic. "Our exports have increased by 20 to 30 percent annually," Didie said.
The MoU facilitates the exchange of business information, which is of great importance to trade, as it has been difficult to acquire such information in the past, Didie added. Retno said Indonesia was interested in buying Ukrainian trucks, which are now used by Indonesian peacekeeping forces in Darfur. "They are also offering their Antonov aircraft," she said.
The CIS country reiterated its interest in cooperating with Indonesia for outer-space exploration.
"Ukraine has presented an interesting proposal to organize joint venture on space exploration. Our national space agency is interested in Indonesia's participation as it possesses a very good geographical position," Gorin said. Retno, however, said it was too early to talk about the details of such cooperation.
Source: The Jakarta Post