news focus – Iindonesia, New Zealand intensify bilateral cooperation

Jakarta(ANTARA News) - The diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Indonesia were made formal in 1958.

After 60 years, bilateral partnership between the two countries has proven to be mutually beneficial.

Relations between the two countries have had a particular focus on renewable energy, agriculture, education, and disaster management.

Indonesia is an archipelago made up of 18 thousand islands, spanning 5,150 kilometers east to west, and three different time zones. The size, strategic location, and natural resources of Indonesia make it attractive to New Zealand exporters.

With 260 million people, Indonesia has the largest population in East Asia and the fourth largest on earth. That is a big market for New Zealand.

The Indonesian economy is largely dependent on the mining, industrial, and utilities sectors. It is a market-based economy in which the Government plays a significant role, including setting prices on several basic goods, such as fuel, rice, and electricity.

Although Indonesias trade is primarily conducted with Asian countries, such as Japan, China, Singapore, and South Korea, New Zealands trading relationship with Indonesia has steadily been growing.

In 2017, the value of Indonesia-New Zealand bilateral trade increased by 15 percent to $1.18 billion.

The increase in the value of bilateral trade also occurred in the first semester of 2018, which amounted to 10.6 percent and reached US$760 million.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi held a meeting with New Zealand Deputy PM/Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters in Jakarta on Oct 5 within the framework of the 8th Indonesia-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC).

At the meeting, the two foreign ministers agreed to elevate the cooperation between the two countries to a comprehensive partnership level.

This year, Indonesia and New Zealand commemorate six decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

"We also upgraded our cooperation relationship up to a comprehensive partnership level," Minister Marsudi noted.

Marsudi stated that the two countries will develop an action plan to implement the said cooperation.

"It is an honor for me and New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters to lead this 8th JMC," Foreign Minister Marsudi stated.

The 7th Indonesia-New Zealand JMC Meeting was held in 2015 in New Zealand.

Minister Marsudi emphasized that New Zealand is a close friend of Indonesia, particularly in the Pacific region.

Indonesia lauds the consistency of New Zealand in supporting Indonesias sovereignty and integrity.

In 2018, the two countries have also upgraded bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive partnership. Hence, at the 8th JMC meeting, the two foreign ministers agreed to formulate an action plan for the implementation of the comprehensive partnership.

At the meeting, Marsudi and Peters discussed cooperation between the two countries, among others, in the fields of trade, investment, and tourism.

The two foreign ministers agreed to continue to improve economic cooperation between both nations, especially in the trade sector.

Both countries have set a trade target of US$6.25 billion in 2024.

In particular, Minister Marsudi conveyed that New Zealand might provide wider access for tropical fruit products and animal feed from Indonesia.

In addition, Indonesia and New Zealand also agreed to improve the implementation of the 2017-2022 Commitment for Development, in particular in the fields of renewable energy, agriculture, education, and disaster management.

Regional and world strategic issues were also the concern of the two foreign ministers during the meeting.

Indonesia and New Zealand have a strong commitment to continue promoting peace, stability, and prosperity of the region and the world. This includes developing the concept of the Indo-Pacific cooperation and cooperation in the South Pacific.

The Indonesia-New Zealand JMC meeting was first held in 2007 in Jakarta. New Zealand will host the 9th meeting that is planned to be held next year.

On another occasion, Minister of Industry Airlangga Hartarto expressed hope that Indonesian automotive products would penetrate the New Zealand market to increase trade value between the two countries, which is currently deficit for Indonesia.

"We are challenged to increase the trade value between the two countries, with a target of doubling the value of US$1.8 billion within the next four years. This target can be achieved if New Zealand opens its automotive market for Indonesias products," Hartarto stated.

According to Hartarto, despite the distance between the two countries being relatively less, Indonesian automotive products have not penetrated the markets of New Zealand and Australia.

"New Zealand and Australia are close to Indonesia. Hence, we want to promote automotive exports," he stated.

Hartarto added that the type of car to most likely be exported to New Zealand is currently the one with a combustion engine, considering that the production of electric cars in Indonesia has not been massive.

On March 18-19, 2018, Indonesias President Joko Widodo paid a state visit to New Zealand at the invitation of Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.

During his visit, President Widodo met with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy and Prime Minister Ardern. The two sides held warm and forward-looking discussions on wide-ranging areas of bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues of shared concern.

President Widodo and Prime Minister Ardern noted the importance of the 60th Anniversary of the formal diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Indonesia.

The relationship was built on a solid foundation of people-to-people links and had blossomed into one of each nations most valuable relationships. As such, it was fitting that President Widodos visit to New Zealand also marked the elevation of the bilateral relationship to that of a comprehensive partnership.

The leaders reaffirmed the two countries mutual respect and support for each others sovereignty and territorial integrity and to the maintenance of a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and secure Asia-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Ardern lauded the convening of a New Zealand-Indonesia business forum held in Auckland on March 16, 2018, and for President Widodos in-depth discussions with New Zealand business CEOs. Both leaders noted this will contribute to the deepening of two-way trade and investment links.

Both leaders reaffirmed a commitment to increase two-way trade in goods to NZ$4 billion (Rp40 trillion) by 2024, building on the platform created by the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. They emphasized that open, stable, and conducive business environments are key to achieving this goal.

Leaders also welcomed the two-way growth in trade in services and affirmed the importance of increasing investment to support mutually beneficial growth, boost productivity, and increase meaningful employment.

The central importance of the agricultural sector to the bilateral relationship was discussed, with both leaders recognizing the importance of agricultural trade to ensuring food security in the region, and the need to remove barriers that prevent trade in food and agricultural products from reaching its full potential.

Both leaders also underscored the importance of regional economic integration and increasingly open trade in the Asia-Pacific region and reaffirmed their objective to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial outcome in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement negotiations.

They reaffirmed that RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement, with significant improvements over existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognizing the individual and diverse circumstances of RCEP participating countries.

The two leaders welcomed progress in implementing the Arrangement on Cooperation in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation, particularly education and technical capacity building for geothermal energy.

President Widodo and Prime Minister Ardern acknowledged the key contribution renewable energy makes to climate change mitigation and re-affirmed their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitments under the New Zealand-Indonesia Joint Communiqu? on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Promoting Sustainable Fisheries Management, which was signed in 2016.

In addition, the two leaders highlighted the cornerstone contribution that people-to-people connections provide in building a relationship that is as enduring and robust as that shared by New Zealand and Indonesia.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to increasing two-way education links.

Both leaders noted the growth in tourism, which has seen an increase in the numbers of New Zealand citizens travelling to Indonesia and vice versa.

Both leaders noted the prospects for future growth with the addition of new Bali-Auckland direct flights in 2018. This will add significantly to travel between the two countries as well as increase freight options.

Meanwhile, both leaders endorsed the extension to the Memorandum of Cooperation on Disaster Risk Management between the National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Noting the value of New Zealands development assistance, particularly in renewable energy and geothermal development, agriculture, disaster risk management, and education, Prime Minister Ardern announced funding for two new development projects: a NZ$4.5 million three-year project that will enable the Indonesian Red Cross to respond more effectively to disasters; and a NZ$3.5 million five-year project to develop a network of skilled young civic leaders, with a commitment to sustainable development in Eastern Indonesia, through participation in a New Zealand-based leadership programme.

Source: ANTARA News

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