Visiting Czech President Vaclav Klaus said on Monday his country was “very interested” in expanding business relations with Indonesia, saying his nation was not among the fallen victims of the eurozone crisis currently hampering several members of the European Union.
In his speech, delivered to open a Czech-Indonesia Business Forum in Jakarta on Monday, Klaus, visiting Indonesia for the first time since he was elected as president in 2003, said the Czech Republic was not a member of the eurozone.
“We are not a victim of the current economic crisis […] we are now in a better position. That is one of the advantages,” said Klaus, whose visit is the first visit of a Czech head of state since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1993.
Klaus, who was accompanied by Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa, Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Milan Hovorka and a delegation comprising 17 businesspeople, said that he was optimistic in the future of economic relations between the two countries.
“Let’s do business together. In my understanding, there is a difference between cooperation and business. We are interested in doing business,” he said.
Klaus, who visited Indonesia in 1994 as the Czech prime minister, congratulated the largest economy in Southeast Asia for its accomplishments so far, stating “the dramatic change is visible, and we congratulate you for the achievement”.
Meanwhile, Industry Minister M.S. Hidayat said on the sidelines of the seminar that thanks to Indonesia’s trade deficit in April this year, the country must widen the destination of its exports.
“The Czech delegation has mentioned that they want Indonesia to invest more in their country,” said Hidayat.
Indonesian exports declined by 3.46 percent to $15.98 billion in April on a yearly basis, which is the first decline since September 2009, while imports surged by 11.65 percent year-on-year to $16.62 billion, resulting in a $641.1 million deficit.