Ukraine and Indonesia deepen ties

Ukraine and Indonesia deepen ties

Ukraine is due to help Sumatra grow wheat. Source: Flickr

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Indonesia’s Joko Widodo have agreed to start consultations on establishing a free-trade zone between their contrasting states.

During a visit to Jakarta, Poroshenko said: “President Widodo and I have agreed to start consultations on the free trade zone.” Indonesia was already Ukraine’s largest Asean trade partner but there was scope to deepen the relationship, said the embattled president. “Ukraine could become a gateway for Indonesian investors into the European market,” Poroshenko said.

The leaders struck several economic, defence and educational deals and signed a visa-free deal for Ukrainians visiting the sprawling archipelago. Energy talks are also said to be advancing.

The states have agreed to boost agricultural cooperation, transferring technology and boosting wheat production. Jokowi signed the agreement on agricultural cooperation with his Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman and Kiev’s Food Minister Taras Kutovyi. “We invite them to invest in Indonesia, particularly in wheat, because the country is known for its expertise in that commodity. We will try to develop wheat in Sumatra,” Amran told the media at the State Palace in Jakarta.

Europe’s second largest country is one of the biggest wheat producers in the world and ships more than 60 per cent of its exports of the grain to Indonesia, while more than 60 per cent of Indonesia’s goods sent to the war-torn former Soviet state were palm oil, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi announced.

Indonesia imported more than 7 million tonnes of wheat during 2014, making it the third-biggest importer of the European staple in the world. A third meeting in the Ukrainian-Indonesian intergovernmental commission on economic and technical cooperation would be held next year in Kiev, Poroshenko said.

“We agreed on the need for the third meeting of the Ukrainian-Indonesian intergovernmental commission on economic and technical cooperation,” Poroshenko said.

The talks in early 2017 would deepen economic ties between the states and allow mutually beneficial projects in different spheres of industry, energy and agriculture to be implemented. Jakarta is obviously confident that Poroshenko will still be in power in six months, despite the fragility of his government and the occupation of large areas of the country’s east by Russian-backed separatists.

“Ukraine must become a platform for Indonesia’s access to the European market. At the same time, we consider Indonesia a platform for a large Asian market,” Poroshenko’s website reported. EU market access for Indonesia is possible after the Ukraine-EU free trade deal that has been provisionally applied since January 1.

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