Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Vladivostok, Russia | Headlines | Mon, September 10 2012, 10:16 AM
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has taken fullest advantage of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit by forging several bilateral deals on business and investment.
The deals include the development of green cars with South Korea, acceleration of investment in the cattle business with Australia and support for Thailand to jointly cap rubber production following a decline in global rubber prices.
In a press conference after the summit on Sunday, Yudhoyono said that in a meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, both countries had agreed to jointly develop environmental friendly cars.
“Why with Korea? Because we feel comfortable with the existing cooperation on defense procurement and joint production. There are transparency, transfers of technology, and joint investment and production in the cooperation,” said Yudhoyono, without elaborating further.
Indonesia has ordered three submarines from Korea under a transfer of technology scheme. The two countries are also in the process of jointly developing a jet fighter that is comparable to US-made F-16.
In the past three months, the government has seriously pursued measures to develop green cars, with several ministries joining forces to instruct state-owned defense company PT Pindad to pioneer the production of electric cars.
“Korea has the technology, and that’s why we need to learn from them,” said Yudhoyono.
Yudhoyono also announced a bilateral meeting with Australia in which the neighboring nation had agreed to help expedite investment in Indonesia’s cattle business.
“The current cooperation with Australia, in which we import [live] cattle from them, is not entirely beneficial for Indonesia,” said Yudhoyono.
“We have agreed to explore ways to develop a new model in which there should immediately be a joint investment in Indonesia to expand the cattle business.”
He said there had been many plans by Australia to invest in the sector, but so far, they remained on paper.
With a population of around 240 million and a growing middle-class, Indonesia is Australia’s biggest cattle and meat market.
Australia was represented by Trade Minister Craig Emerson after Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard left the summit and returned home after her father died.
Yudhoyono also met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to reaffirm Indonesia’s commitment to limiting rubber shipments in response to the plunge in rubber prices and demand.
“We are cooperating, not as a cartel, but as policy coordinators within the framework of the World Trade Organization,” he said.
Indonesia, the second-largest rubber producer, is committed to reducing shipments to boost prices in the fourth quarter this year, as agreed with the other top two growers Thailand, the largest, and Malaysia.
The three countries represent about 70 percent of global supplies.
Rubber prices in Tokyo Commodity Exchange have lost 14 percent this year
RI’s other bilateral meetings during APEC summit
1. China: Yudhoyono met Chinese President Hu Jintao to talk about easing tension in the South China Sea, and to maintain the current warm strategic partnership. The two leaders also talked of boosting bilateral trade.
2. Mexico, Peru and Chile: Yudhoyono said the three countries want to have relations taken to a higher level through free trade agreements. Indonesia is still exploring the costs and benefits of such agreements, according to Yudhoyono.
3. Russia: Yudhoyono said the two countries were keen to increase open trade and investment, regional economic integration, food security, supply chains and innovative technology as all outlined by the so-called “Bogor goals” a declaration of action plans made during APEC summit in 1994.
The deals include the development of green cars with South Korea
Indonesia, South Korea are also in the process of jointly developing a fighter jet
Australia also promises to invest in the cattle business