President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) had a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on the sidelines of the Russia-ASEAN Summit 2016 at Hotel Radisson Blu in Sochi, Russia, Thursday (19/5).
Jokowi said Vietnam is an important partner to Indonesia in Southeast Asia, particularly for rice. Indonesia has long been importing rice from Vietnam to meet domestic demand.
Central Statistics Agency data show that Indonesia imported 171,286 tons of rice from Vietnam in 2013, rising to 306,418 tons in 2014. Last year, rice imports from the Southeast Asian country increased again, with Jokowi’s approval, to one million tons.
This strategic partnership between Indonesia and Vietnam was established in 2013. That year, trade between the two nations exceeded the target of US$5 billion. However, this figure has not grown significantly since.
“In 2015, our (Indonesia-Vietnam) trade was $5.59 billion, increasing 6.47 percent over the past three years,” said Jokowi in an official release distributed after the meeting on Thursday (19/5). (Read: Four Major Russian Companies Seek to Invest in Indonesia )
Indonesia and Vietnam now intend to intensify their trade partnership. At the bilateral meeting, Jokowi and Nguyen Xuan Phuc agreed to increase trade between the two nations to $10 billion in 2018.
The two government heads also welcomed the outcome of their eight technical meeting on the delimitation of Exclusive Economic Zones held in Jakarta on 22 – 24 March 2016, at which two countries agreed to move forward with negotiations on the Indonesian-Vietnamese maritime border.
This was Jokowi’s first meeting with Phuc since he was inaugurated as Vietnam’s prime minister in April 2016. At the end of the meeting, Jokowi invited Phuc to visit Indonesia in hopes of strengthening bilateral ties. (Read: Jokowi Inks Business Deals Worth IDR 270 T during Visit to Europe)
Before meeting with the Vietnamese PM, Jokowi had a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladmir Putin at Bocharov Ruchei, the presidential residence in Sochi, on Wednesday night. At the meeting, the leaders discussed possible partnership opportunities between the two countries, including increasing palm oil exports from Indonesia, and partnerships in the defence and security, energy and tourism sectors.
Jokowi said talks over the defence and security sector covered weaponry, trade of intelligence information on terrorism, and transfer of knowledge on weaponry technology.
Considering Russia a close partner of Indonesia, Jokowi also extended an invitation to Putin to visit Jakarta. (Read: Korean Entrepreneurs Meet Jokowi, Convey Readiness to Invest IDR 250t)