Venezuela, RI to improve
trade, investment relations

Venezuelan business leaders are exploring opportunities to improve cooperation with Indonesian partners in trade and investment.

"We would like to improve trade and investment relations, including those in tourism, technology, chemicals and natural gas," Mirtha Quintero, manager for commercial promotion of Foreign Trade Bank of Venezuela (Bancoex), said at a seminar in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The trade mission seminar was held by a visiting 20-member Venezuelan delegation representing two governmental agencies and 13 companies from various sectors such as aluminum, agribusiness, beverages, chemicals, food and telecommunication technology.

"We can expand trade or investment relations because Venezuela has much potential, especially in natural resources," Diono Nurjadin of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said. "The bilateral trade between the two countries is still below US$100 million a year."

Dementio Marotta, vice president of Bancoex, hoped that the business seminar could attract more Indonesian businessmen to invest in Venezuela.

"We have abundant and various natural resources," Marotta said.

According to Marotta, Venezuela is the third country with largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is also known as a producer of raw materials such as iron-steel, bauxite, gold, diamond, copper, coal, phosphate and zinc.

Over the past few years, bilateral trade between Indonesia and Venezuela increased from $34 million in 2000 to $96 million in 2009, according to Bancoex.

But according to data from the Indonesian Trade Ministry, Indonesia's exports to Venezuela reached $38.3 million and imports $1.3 million, resulting in a $37 million surplus for Indonesia.

Indonesia's exports to Venezuela mostly consist of technically specified natural rubber, fabrics, footwear and cotton, while Indonesia imports are rubber or plastic, cyclic amides, silicon dioxide and aluminum alloys from Venezuela.

The diplomatic relationship between the two countries was officially opened on Oct. 10, 1959. The first economic agreement was signed in Caracas on Sept. 26, 1991. (not)

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