Tue, 01 Mar 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - France has confirmed its intention to invest 175 million US dollars in Bandung`s Metropolitan Railway project that will connect Padalarang and Cicalengka districts, West Java, a minister said.

"France has confirmed its intention to invest 175 million US dollars in the Padalarang-Cicalengka railway project that is designed to overcome the region`s chaotic traffic congestion problem," Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Rajasa said here Friday after a meeting with French Economic, Finance and Industry Minister Christine Lagarde.

Hatta Rajasa said France was also interested in urban development in Surabaya city, East Java.

On a national scale, France would like to cooperate with Indonesia in developing geothermal energy sources and in extreme climate monitoring efforts being managed by Indonesia`s Meteorology Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

"Besides, they are also interested in geothermal energy and environment based industries which will be a government-to-government issue," he said.

France had also confirmed its plan to participate in a nickel smelter project and nickel processing industries in Halmahera, North Maluku, valued at around 5 billion US dollars, through a multinational company, Eramet.

To participate in the nickel smelter project, France was asking for an operation permit valid for up to 50 years while Indonesian government policy only allowed foreign companies to operate for 30 years only with the possibility of extending it every 10 years, Hatta said.

Hatta also hoped the French government would also contribute to the development of Indonesia`s economic regions with an investment of 10 billion US dollars.

Meanwhile, Minister Christine Lagarde said the French economic delegation she was leading was the first to come to Indonesia in the last 14 years. France wanted to step up its investment in and its economic cooperation with Indonesia through ministerial level talks.

"We have also met Vice President Boediono and discussed investment in energy, transportation, water conservation, climate monitoring, railroads, construction and retail companies such as Carrefour," she said.

The French economic delegation`s purpose was also to increase the volume of trade between the two countries which currently still stood at the relatively low figure of about 2.5 billion US dollars.(*)