Mon, 26 May 2003

RI, Thailand agree to promote investment

Sri Wahyuni, The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta

The fifth meeting of the joint commission on economic and technical cooperation between the Republic of Indonesia and the Kingdom of Thailand has concluded, with mutual agreement to promote closer bilateral relations, and satisfaction at the increase of investment flows between the two countries.

Speaking at a joint press conference held after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on economic and technical cooperation with Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Surakiart Sathirathai on Friday evening, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hassan Wirayuda said the meeting had also agreed to accelerate the establishment of a subcommittee on investment.

The subcommittee, he said, would serve as a forum for the exchange of information between related institutions in both Thailand and Indonesia, in a bid to encourage direct investment in both countries.

"The meeting also agreed to expedite the process of the conclusion of the MOU on cooperation on investment promotion activities between the offices of the Board of Investment (BOI) of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) of the Republic of Indonesia," Hassan said.

The two delegations, according to Hassan, also appreciated the forthcoming establishment of the Thai-Indonesian Business Council in Bangkok on May 27 and expressed confidence that the council would become the forum for the private sector of both countries to increase its interaction and cooperation in trade, investment, industry and banking.

The same appreciation was also addressed by delegations of the two countries to the trade agreement between Indonesia and Thailand, to be signed during the planned visit of President Megawati Soekarnoputri in August.

"Furthermore, both sides agreed to expedite the conclusion of agreements on maritime and air transportation by August of the same year," Hassan said.

Both Indonesia and Thailand, according to Hassan, also expressed appreciation on the positive development in Thai- Indonesian fisheries cooperation, but Thailand further proposed that Indonesia provide an operating manual for fishing in the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone.

The two countries also expressed delight at progress in educational cooperation, cultural exchange activities and tourism cooperation between the two countries. Indonesia, in particular, took note of Thailand's proposal to put emphasis on five areas of cooperation: rubber and wood, halal food, palm oil, tourism and energy.

Speaking at the same media conference, Thai foreign minister Surakiart expressed hope that all the agreed commitment for cooperation in various fields between Indonesia and Thailand would materialize as soon as possible.

He said that cooperation between both countries would become a model for the country's future trade cooperation and might also be extended to other neighboring countries, such as Malaysia.

The sixth meeting of the joint commission would be held in Thailand at a date to be agreed later by both countries. Both also agreed to include issues relating to political and security cooperation at the sixth meeting.