The Jakarta Post
New Zealand aims to tighten bilateral ties with Indonesia, which it recognizes as growing in importance regionally and globally, particularly through greater trade and investment over the next five years.
New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said on Monday that the current relationship between the two countries was in 'good shape', especially with around 15 ministerial bilateral visits made last year.
'It's a big step up and I think it's developing well, but there's a lot we can do together,' he said during an interview on the sidelines of a seminar on renewable energy.
Joyce pointed out areas for further cooperation, such as agriculture, geothermal and renewable energy, food and beverage, as well as education.
Joyce, who will conclude his three-day visit to Indonesia on Wednesday, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Auckland UniServices Limited and the Indonesian Geothermal Association (Inaga).
Under the MoU, UniServices will help enhance the capacity of Indonesian geothermal professionals through training and other aspects in the next two years. New Zealand has so far provided training for 180 local geothermal professionals.
In 2012, the Pacific country also spent US$6.95 million to support the development of two geothermal fields ' Ulubelu in Lampung and Lahendong in North Sulawesi ' built by Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE), a subsidiary of state-owned oil and gas firm PT Pertamina, for the development of its 1,000-megawatt power plants. The $300 million power plants were funded primarily with World Bank loans.
Trade between Indonesia and New Zealand rose by 12.16 percent to $1.27 billion last year, with Indonesia remaining on the deficit side after exporting $469.51 million and importing $805.99 million. The scale of New Zealand investment, however, is relatively small, totaling only $500,000 in 11 projects.
New Zealand Ambassador to Indonesia David Taylor said that his government had earmarked a total of NZ$100 million ($85.67 million) in aid for a range of sectors in Indonesia over the next five years, with NZ$20 million disbursed each year.
'Of the overall figure, NZ$15 million will go to the energy sector, including geothermal-related activities,' he said.
He added that NZ$7 million would be spent on supporting a renewable energy project conducted by state-owned electricity firm PT PLN on around 1,000 islands and another NZ$3 million on capacity building for human resources in the geothermal sector in partnership with Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University.
New Zealand officials were also in talks with their Indonesian counterparts about bringing breeding cattle to help boost beef output here, Taylor said.
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