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June 9, 2008

Two-way trade targeted at $10bn by 2009

Indonesia and India are expected to finalize talks for conclusion of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement in August, reported Antara news agency.

"It is being drafted. We hope in one month's time there will be a meeting to that effect. The blueprint for the agreement already exists. It is now for the two nations to prepare negotiations on the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement," Indonesian Ambassador to India Andi M. Ghalib said on Saturday.

The agreement was designed to achieve the two-way trade target of $10 billion by 2009, he said. Two-way trade between Indonesia and India stood at $6 billion last year. Trade value would be higher than the current figure if the two nations conducted direct trade, he added.

Indonesia's exports to India included coal, crude palm oil and handicraft goods while its imports from India mainly consisted of machineries.

"The meeting is scheduled to take place in India in August. It is a follow-up to the Indonesian trade minister's visit to India some time ago," he said.

If the agreement could be signed on schedule, it would pave the way for the two countries to pursue a free trade agreement, he said.

Chairman of the Indian Committee of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Djismun Kasri meanwhile said both countries had not maximally benefited from their huge trade potentials.

Indonesia's exports to India had so far been shipped through third countries such as Singapore, he said.

"We need to conduct direct trade with India," he said.

More on Indonesia

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