Sat, 13 Aug 1994

Chile's president to participate in the APEC summit

JAKARTA (JP): Chilean President Eduardo Frei is expected to take part in the leadership meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum scheduled for November in Bogor, West Java, ambassador Fernando Cousino says.

President Frei's attendance will mark the beginning of Chile's participation in the forum, the ambassador told The Jakarta Post yesterday.

He said the President will bring some 50 Chilean entrepreneurs to the meeting with him.

Cousino explained that his country has long been active in Trans-Pacific organizations, especially in the field of trade.

"Joining APEC will be somewhat a culmination of our participation in regional and international forums," he said.

Chile is a member of the Pacific Rim Economic Cooperation Conference, the Pacific Basin Economic Council and other scientific and cultural forums within the region. It received Indonesia's full support for admission to APEC.

Cousino, who presented his letter of credentials to President Soeharto last week, acknowledged the significance of APEC in promoting cooperation and trade among its members.

APEC groups Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Mexico. Chile will make its APEC debut in November.

Bilateral ties

While he intends to increase relations with Indonesia on a multilateral level during his tenure here, such as through APEC, Cousino acknowledged that many fields of bilateral relations could be developed with Indonesia.

"My ambition is to see bilateral trade between the two countries double after I leave Jakarta," he said firmly.

Trade between the two has grown by 49 percent over the last five years, and now totals nearly US$150 million, he said.

He said however that this is far from satisfactory as Chile is running a huge trade surplus with Indonesia.

"One of my jobs is to balance this trade," he said.

Fields with potential for further development include mining, fishing, telecommunications and forestry.

Being the world's number one copper producer, Chile could provide technical know-how to Indonesia, he said.

The country, with its long Pacific coastline, could also offer advanced technology in the fishing industry, now a major source of Chile's foreign exchange.

Through diplomatic channels, the two countries are currently conducting studies for an Agreement on Protection and Investment Promotion, he said. (pwn)