Fri, 05 Mar 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and the Netherlands at a meeting here Thursday agreed to step up their bilateral relations in the trade and investment fields.

The mutual commitment was formalized in the agreed minutes of the 20th meeting of the two countries` Joint Commission on Bilateral Economic Cooperation signed by their respective representatives.

The Indonesian delegation at the meeting was led by Retno LP Marsudi, the foreign affairs ministry`s director general for relations with the US and Europe, and the Dutch delegation by Roderick van Schreven, the Netherlands` economic ministry`s director general of foreign economic relations.

Present at the signing of the agreement at the Borobudur Hotel were also Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and Dutch Economic Minister Maria van der Hoeven.

"The two countries are to boost their trade and investment relations after the global crisis caused a decline in their bilateral trade in the past one year," Indonesia`s Mari Elka Pangestu said.

During the 2004-2008 period, the value of Indonesia-Netherlands trade increased by an annual average of 17.38 percent. However, the figure dropped in the 2008-2009 period due to the global crisis. In 2008, bilateral trade stood at US$4.143 billion but it fell to US$ 3.405 billion in 2009.

One of the efforts to be undertaken to implement the joint commitment to increase the two countries` trade and investment relations was the publication of information on the benefits and challenges in stepping up bilateral economic relations, Pangestu said.

Indonesia, she added, also planned to promote in the Netherlands the goods produced by its small and medium enterprises through the "One Village, One Product" program.

The promotion would allow small entrepreneurs from every village in Indonesia to market their products in the Netherlands.

At the Joint Commission meeting, the Indonesian delegation also explained to the Dutch side the benefits of investing in Indonesia, the country`s latest negative investment list and its integrated one-stop-service facility for foreign investment.

Meanwhile, Dutch Economic Minister Maria van der Hoeven said, "Indonesia is a huge and developing market for the Netherlands. We hope more Dutch investors will come to Indonesia in the future and vice versa."

Apart from trade and investment, the Indonesia-Netherlands Joint Commission at its meeting also discussed bilateral relations in the energy, agriculture, forestry, fishery and research and technology sectors.

In discussions on the energy sector, the Netherlands stated its commitment to give a grant worth more than 40 million Euros to Indonesia in the form of renewable energy projects in 2010-2013.

The two countries also agreed that their agriculture, fishery and forestry products must meet international quality standards to protect consumers.

The Dutch side also stated its commitment to buy two megatons of carbon from Indonesia through several environmentally-friendly projects in the country.

The Indonesia-Netherlands Joint Commission meeting is a biennial event based on a bilateral economic cooperation agreement signed in 1968.

The 19th meeting of the Indonesia-Netherlands Joint Commission was held in The Hague on November 14, 2007.