Indonesia eyes better economic cooperation with India

December 11th, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 11 (IANS) In a bid to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, Indonesia plans to sign a free trade and investment guarantee agreements with India by next year, the country’s envoy said here Thursday.”We’re hopeful to sign an investment guarantee agreement (IGA) by 2009 and are also working out the pros and cons of a free trade agreement (FTA) with India,” Indonesian Ambassador to India Andi M. Ghalib said here at an interactive session organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

“Indonesia is working hard to implement the FTA and the bilateral negotiation is still on regarding the accord,” he added.

According to Indonesian embassy officials, both the countries are preparing feasibility reports explaining the mutual benefit of the FTA.

“We’ve almost completed a feasibility report on the issue. India is also preparing their report. We are expecting to share this information in the first half of 2009,” Counsellor of the Indonesian embassy in New Delhi Otto Riadi told IANS on the sidelines of the programme.

Indonesia is currently India’s third largest trading partner in Southeast Asia with a bilateral trade value of $6.55 billion, trailing only Singapore ($13 billion) and Malaysia ($8 billion).

Bilateral trade between India and Indonesia surged to $6.55 billion last year, a huge jump from $2.4 billion in 2003. In the first quarter of 2008, trade was valued at $2.34 billion, a year-on-year increase of 74.61 percent from $1.34 billion.

Keeping in view the growing economic cooperation, both countries are also eyeing bilateral trade of $10 billion by 2010.

“We’re now working out the preferred sectors where the FTA can be possible between India and Indonesia. We are now negotiating the tariffs that will be imposed on the free-traded products once the agreement will come into effect,” Riadi said.

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