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Jakarta Post

Indonesia, NZ include COVID-19 handling in their 2020-2024 Plan of Action

  • Alya Nurbaiti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, July 30, 2020   /   09:37 am
Indonesia, NZ include COVID-19 handling in their 2020-2024 Plan of Action Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attends the Joint Commission Meeting with New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters virtually on July 29. (Twitter/@Menlu_RI)

Indonesia and New Zealand have signed a Joint Statement and Plan of Action for Comprehensive Partnership for the next five years, covering a wide range of strategic issues that include cooperation in COVID-19 handling.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi signed the agreement with her New Zealand counterpart Winston Peters, who is also the deputy prime minister, during the Ninth Joint Ministerial Commission -- the first to be held virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic -- on Wednesday.

“During the meeting, we exchanged views about COVID-19 handling in our respective countries and the implementation of foreign policy during the pandemic," Retno said in a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post.

"Indonesia is currently focused on four things namely protection, procurement of medical supplies, [COVID-19] vaccine procurement and economic cooperation."

She said that both countries agreed on the importance of global solidarity to move toward sustainable COVID-19 recovery and a stronger economy.

New Zealand has supported Indonesia with NZ$6.12 million (US$ 4.08 million) of aid to assist in, among other things, boosting testing capacity, providing protective gear, hygiene and infection-prevention supplies, as well as improving essential health services.

During the meeting, Retno and Peters also agreed to increase the two countries' bilateral trade to NZ$4 billion by 2024.

“Much hard work is needed to achieve the target, especially during this pandemic. Indonesia hopes that New Zealand will remove barriers that hinder trade, such as by simplifying the import health standards for Indonesian fruit exports,” she said.

The action plan also includes cooperation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), digital technology, women’s participation, education and renewable energy. Both sides also pledged a commitment to reduce and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Retno added that Indonesia and New Zealand would also continue to support and sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement this year.