Business

RI, Korea to set up joint
secretariat

Eastern ties: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono receives a courtesy call from South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-kyung at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Thursday. Choi was part of a Korean delegation to a two-day Indonesia-South Korea bilateral meeting in Bali, which ended Thursday. Courtesy of the Presidential Palace
Eastern ties: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono receives a courtesy call from South Korean Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-kyung at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on Thursday. Choi was part of a Korean delegation to a two-day Indonesia-South Korea bilateral meeting in Bali, which ended Thursday. Courtesy of the Presidential Palace

Indonesia and South Korea have agreed to form a joint secretariat later this month to further strengthen trade, investment and other economic cooperation, a top official says.

“To optimize programs that have been laid out by both countries, a joint secretariat will be formed, which will consist of government officials as well as private sector executives from both countries,” Amir Sambodo, a special adviser to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, told reporters on the sidelines of the Indonesia – South Korea bilateral meeting at Westin Resort in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Thursday.

The joint secretariat will be based in Indonesia and comprise 10 senior officials and business executives to monitor and control the implementation of cooperation in several projects engaged by both countries,
he added.

Indonesia and South Korea will also conduct a joint study for a free trade-like pact between the two countries. Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa refused to call the business partnership a free trade agreement but instead a “joint comprehensive partnership agreement”.

“The pact will cover trade, but also infrastructure and manufacturing. Preparations have been made to start the joint study,” Amir said.

According to him, there are several sectors in which Indonesia needs help from South Korea, such as mining, oil and gas, agriculture, renewable energy, shipping and defense and manufacturing industries. “Korea and Indonesia will also cooperate in technology innovation.”

Indonesia and South Korea on Wednesday signed nine memorandum of understandings (MoU),
one for government-to-government cooperation and the other eight in the forms of business and government partnerships — in various sectors including, among others, technology, textile, machinery, maritime, aerospace, defense and solar
photovoltaic.

Among the MoU is an agreement between Samsung C&T and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to develop a 5,000 megawatt solar energy plant in Indonesia to grow renewable energy in the country.

“Samsung and the energy ministry will form a working group to make solar energy competitive so that PLN [state-run electricity firm] can develop it. Probabilities of tax incentives and location would be discussed by the group,” Amir explained, citing the need for 800 hectares of land for the plant, which may be located in Bali or Madura.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) has also begun talks to develop shipping vehicles for LNG floating in Indonesia as the country is thought to have gas reserves offshore.

“A 40-hectare area of land has been prepared in Batam for the project, which could partner with Dok & Perkapalan Kodja Bahari,” Amir said.

As for the manufacturing industry, Indonesia is eyeing the expansion of its car manufacturing together with Hyundai.

South Korea has also proposed to increase the number of flights between the country and Indonesia, either from Seoul to Jakarta or to Bali.

“The Korean president will visit Indonesia in November to convey to the world about Indonesia-Korea forms of partnership, and from then on all projects would be able to start right away,” Amir added.

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