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Indonesia key to upgrading China-Asean relations
Publication Date : 03-10-2013
Indonesia will play a key role in China's drive to upgrade economic ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), while great potential can be envisioned in China-Indonesia economic relations, experts said.
"Indonesia is the largest economy in Asean and attaches great importance to economic integration in East Asia. China should better develop its partnership with Indonesia, which will have significant meaning for upgrading China-Asean ties," said Zhang Jianping, a researcher from the Institute for International Economic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission.
Song Hong, an economist with the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, echoed that there is great potential for China and Indonesia to further expand trade and investment cooperation.
China is the largest trade partner of Indonesia. Bilateral trade in the first eight months of this year rose 5.6 per cent from a year earlier to US$44.8 billion, accounting for about 15.8 per cent of China's trade with Asean, according to the General Administration of Customs.
Chinese exports to Indonesia rose 12.2 per cent year-on-year in the January-August period while its imports declined 1.3 per cent, leaving a trade surplus of $3.94 billion.
In 2012, bilateral trade between China and Indonesia increased 9.4 per cent year-on-year to $66.2 billion with Chinese exports surging 17.4 per cent and its imports edging up 1.9 per cent.
Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Liu Jianchao said that Beijing and Jakarta will provide opportunities for each other.
He Liping, a professor from Beijing Normal University, said that Indonesia's economic growth will regain momentum in the second half of this year or next year, though the country's economic growth slowed to 5.3 per cent in the second quarter this year from 6 per cent in the first quarter.
President Xi Jinping is on state visits to Indonesia and Malaysia, and will attend the economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Bali from October 2 to 8.
The state visit to Indonesia is expected to deepen, broaden and enhance ties, State Council Yang Jiechi said in a recent visit to Jakarta. Yang and Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto agreed in a meeting to strengthen political mutual trust and expand trade and investment cooperation and support for Chinese enterprises in Indonesian infrastructure construction.
"Indonesia is less developed in manufacturing industries and China should expand its imports from Indonesia. Meanwhile, we should also increase investment in Indonesia, which will boost Indonesian exports to China and enhance local employment," said Zhang.
Song added that Indonesia's efforts to boost economic growth and infrastructure construction provided great opportunities for Chinese enterprises that have remarkable advantages in infrastructure construction.
"China's restructuring of economic growth will unleash more potential for cooperation between the two countries while Indonesia's vision for economic development will provide a very good destination for Chinese overseas investment," Song said.
Xinhua contributed to the story.