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Indonesia, China should stabilize economy in partnership
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Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said that Indonesia and China would preserve strategic cooperation partnership amid the global economic slowdown and financial crisis.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Wednesday, the minister said that partnership will be an umbrella for the two countries to enhance the good economic cooperation and mitigate the direct impact of the global financial crisis.

"Though the crisis is happening outside of our countries, it will eventually affect our economy, therefore we need to enhance cooperation under this umbrella," she said.

There are several elements included in the agreement which was signed by the heads of two states, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Chinese President Hu Jintao in April 2005. The first one is a commitment for the two countries to increase trade which were targeted to be US$30 billion by the year of 2010.

"Right now we have achieved around US$20 billion which was targeted by 2008," she said.

She also expected China and Indonesia to conduct more trade events and commissions, such as the Indonesia Trade Expo, so as to increase trade promotions between the two sides.

Investment is another significant effort for the two countries to increase the trade volume, she said.

"For example, if China invest in Indonesia's furniture sector, Indonesia has raw materials and can make furniture, then we export back to China, or vice versa, Indonesian invest in the real estate in China," she said.

Another part of the two countries' cooperation was in the sectors of financing and soft loans. She mentioned investment sectors which involved Chinese state-owned enterprises. The 10,000 megawatt of power plant was one of the investment which was being financed by the Export and Import Bank of China.

Indonesia also hoped that cooperation of investment can be expanded through the infrastructure sector in Indonesia.

"That is our priority area, and will be able to be continued, after being financed by additional Chinese concessional loans. So that would be another area in which we intend to pursue in the strategic partnership," she said.

Indonesia's export to China are mainly food, fuel and products that supports China's industrial growth, such as mineral, rubber and chemicals.

Pangestu also felt that it was important for Indonesia to promote more on consumer products including the ones which are more in high fashion items, or medium, but not low-end ones produced in China was proved to be more competitive.

According to Pangestu, Indonesia does not intend to close the market for China and all other countries due to the commitment of WTO membership status.

(Xinhua News Agency October 23, 2008)

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