Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will be visiting Indonesia next week.
The president hopes to revitalize 57-year-old diplomatic relations and to place them onto a new trajectory that focuses on trade, investment and economic cooperation, an Argentinean envoy has said.
“Our President will arrive in Jakarta on Wednesday [Jan. 16]. The two-day official visit will commence from Thursday to Friday. She will meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and other Indonesian leaders during her visit,” Argentinean Ambassador to Indonesia Javier A. Sanz de Urquiza told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
“It will be a historic visit as President Fernandez will be the first Argentinean President to make a state visit to Indonesia,” Urquiza said.
Indonesia and Argentina established diplomatic relations in 1956.
One may wonder why it took 57 years for an Argentinean President to visit Indonesia, the largest
economy in Southeast Asia.
“In the past, our main focus has been on America and Europe. President Fernandez realized the strategic importance of Asia and wanted to establish close ties with big Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia,” Urquiza said.
In fact, the then Argentinean president Carlos Menem did visit Indonesia in 1996 but only for few hours. Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid visited Buenos Aires in 2000 to foster bilateral relations.
Argentina has been the main supplier of soy meal, used mainly for animal feed, to Indonesia.
Based on the Central Statistics Agency ( BPS ), bilateral trade reached almost a record high of US$2 billion in 2011, a huge jump from $632 million in 2007. During the first 10 months of 2012, bilateral trade touched $1.64 billion, heavily in favor of Argentine due to soy meal.
Fernandez will be bringing a substantial business delegation with her to tap into new opportunities in the attractive Indonesian market
According to Urqiza, the Argentinean leader will be coming to Jakarta with two main purposes: Commercial Mission ( MCM ) and Investment Mission ( MIM ).
“The main activity of the MCM will be a business road show where Argentinean business people will participate in business to business ( B2B ) meetings with their Indonesian counterparts for the purpose of introducing products and services,” Urquiza said.
Argentina wants to showcase agricultural machinery; food and beverages; footwear and apparel; industrial equipment; technological services; and textiles during the B2B meetings.
With its natural resources and advanced agriculture, Argentina, Latin America’s third biggest economy and a member of the G20, will be an attractive destination for Indonesian investors. The main aim of the MIM is to present attractive investment opportunities to Indonesian investors.