Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has been urged to maintain and even enhance economic and trade relations with Taiwan despite its ever stronger economic relations with the People`s Republic of China.
"We need to make a distinction between economic and political matters as the two (China and Taiwan) have basic differences that need to be understood," said Sofyan Wanandi, chairman of Indonesian Businessmen`s Association (Apindo), in an interview with ANTARA News Thursday.
Wanandi was asked on the recent visit by a powerful Taiwan economic delegation led by Economic Minister Yen-Shiang Shih to Indonesia. He brought with him more than a hundred business and industry leaders from Taiwan on a week-long trade and investment exploration trip.
Wanandi said economic relations and political relations must not be construed as being the same. In principle, the economic front is free and thus, Indonesia was free to determine with whom to pursue economic relations.
Taiwan investments in Indoneesia had benefited Indonesia as they were made mostly in important sectors, Wanandi added.
He said the growing economic and trade relations between Jakarta and Taipei would not put Beijing in a politically disadvantaged position. Indonesia had been adhering to a one-China policy consistently for more than 40 years, he noted.
"China`s position will never be threatened by Indonesia-Taiwan cooperation because China really is a big country and has big influence," Wanandi said, adding that the cooperation would be positive for Indonesian businessmen.
A statistical report shows Indonesia is the 10th biggest trading partner of Taiwan and bilateral trade from January-August 2010 amounted to US$6.6 billion, an increase of 31.percent compared to the same period in the previous year.
Taiwan`s exports to Indonesia in this period reached $2.9 billion, representing a growth rate of 57 percent. Taiwan`s imports from Indonesia reached $3.8 billion, or an increase of 16.6 percent. Taiwan recorded a trade deficit of $900 million with Indonesia in that period alone.(*)