China impressed by Indonesia’s economic growth

19 March, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Post

China finds Indonesia’s economic growth impressive, putting it on a fast track to become a prominent trading partner, officials say on Tuesday, just days ahead of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit to the country.

Yudhoyono is scheduled to be in Beijing on March 22–24 where he will meet with China’s top leaders as well as members of the business community. Although he has visited China five times before, the upcoming trip will be his second official state visit, according to the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The ministry’s vice minister for Asian affairs, Fu Ying, praised Indonesia’s 6.5 percent economic growth last year and the more than 50 percent increase in the two countries’ bilateral trade, which rose from US$42.75 billion in 2010 to $60.5 billion last year.

“It’s very impressive, given to the fact that the global economy is really flat. And I just transferred from Europe and the European economy is still really bogged down by the segmented crisis,” she said during a press briefing to five Indonesian media, including The Jakarta Post, Tuesday on the President’s upcoming visit.

“Indonesia is an example of a successful economic and political transition, I think. You manage to bring your country back to stability and growth. It’s every important.”

Indonesia’s economy, she said, was surging ahead despite difficult times, and most international agencies’ forecasts for Indonesia were optimistic. She went on to say that many agencies found the economy to be healthy thanks to 50–60 percent contributions from domestic consumption, while the country still managed to attract foreign investment.

“Generally speaking, your economic mix is very healthy and the international rating agency is upgrading your investment rate,” said Ying, who was posted in Jakarta in 1997–1999, when Indonesia was badly hit by the Asian economic crisis.

Yudhoyono’s trip, she said, would serve as a chance for the two sides to look back at what had transpired over the years, and look forward to what can happen in the future.

Important agreements are scheduled to be signed during the visit, including important economic agreements and other partnerships in different areas, though specific details are still being worked out.

“The joint statement, if that can be worked out, would likely layout a wide range of partnerships for the future,” she said.

Separately, deputy director general of Asian affairs at China’s Ministry of Commerce, Liang Wentao, believed that Indonesia is on track to become China’s leading trade partner among ASEAN member countries.

“We believe that Indonesia will become our main strategic partner in ASEAN,” he said on Tuesday, adding that ASEAN countries have taken over Japan’s position as its third-largest trading partner.

Malaysia, the first ASEAN member to establish diplomatic relations with China after ASEAN was established, has become China’s biggest trading partner among ASEAN nations, with two-way trade volume reaching $74.2 billion in 2010.

Indonesia, the largest economy in ASEAN, is currently in the fourth place behind Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Palm oil is China’s main import from Malaysia, with imports of the commodity from Indonesia coming in second place.

Wentao said Indonesia had much bigger potential, human resources and domestic markets.


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