03/23/2012, 00.00
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Jakarta and Beijing sign trade deals worth US$ 17 billion

Signing comes during a two-day visit to Beijing by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, awarded an honorary doctorate from a top Chinese university. Cooperation represents a change from a negative 2011, applies to trade, industry and agriculture.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) - China and Indonesia signed deals potentially worth US$ 17.4 billion on Friday in the fields of mining, hydropower and steel during a two-day visit by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Beijing.

"I am happy to hear of the business agreements between Indonesia and China, which are an indication of the growing cooperation between the two countries," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told the press.

In the morning, the Indonesian leader met with Wan Jifei, head of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade. He also received an honorary doctorate from Tsinghua University, one of China's foremost universities.

The deals signed include a technical cooperation agreement between Indonesia's state-owned steel company PT Krakatau Steel and China's Capital Engineering and Research Inc. Ltd., as well as a deal to lend US$ 200 million in long-term credit to finance the construction of Krakatau's blast furnace complex. Other agreements are in agriculture and textiles.

For Beijing, Indonesia is a growth market with which it can strengthen economic and trade cooperation. It is also of strategic interest to cooperate with Jakarta to maintain stability in the Asia-Pacific region

Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said he was happy with the business deals, which could compensate for last year's trade deficit with China, which analysts blamed on the "problematic" Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the ten-nation ASEAN and mainland China.

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