Editorial: Strengthening relations
Paper Edition | Page: 6
What activities mark ties between good friends? One of them perhaps is the exchanging of visits. And that’s exactly what Angela Merkel is doing. The visiting German Chancellor is meeting President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today in response to Yudhoyono’s trip to Germany in 2009.
Merkel’s visit is also part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Indonesia-Germany diplomatic relationship this year. There is no explanation about details of her visit, which comes on the heels of the Indonesian government’s announcement to procure up to 100 refurbished Germany Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBT) worth US$280 million. But upon looking at the continuously increasing trade volumes between the two countries, the meeting agenda between the two leaders is likely to include discussing bilateral economic and trade relations.
Trade relations between Indonesia and Germany have been developing in a positive direction with Germany being Indonesia’s main trade partner in the European Union. According to Germany’s Federal Foreign Office data in 2010, German exports to Indonesia grew by 26 percent, to some $3 billion from $2.36 billion in 2009, while its imports from Indonesia climbed by 28 percent to some $3 billion from $2.3 billion in 2009. This trend continued in 2011, with the total volume of bilateral trade expanding by 12 percent, to ¤6.7 billion ($8.2 billion). German exports to Indonesia increased by 12 percent to ¤3.4 billion and German imports from Indonesia by 9.7 percent to ¤3.3 billion.
Germany’s main exports to Indonesia are machinery, chemical products, communications technology, electricity generation, electronic components, metals, motor vehicles and pharmaceutical products. Its imports from Indonesia are food and foodstuffs, textiles, agricultural produce, electronic devices, footwear and mineral ores.
Our 60 years of relations is a testament to the friendship between Germany and Indonesia. The visit of Merkel is undoubtedly meant to strengthen that amity.