India and Indonesia, seeking to take their partnership to the next level, have agreed to begin negotiations for concluding a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and set a bilateral trade target of $25 billion by 2015 against $11 billion last fiscal.
“Both leaders are pleased to announce the commencement of negotiations on the Indonesia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, building on what has already been achieved under the India-ASEAN FTA,” a joint statement issued here after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.
The agreement is aimed at reducing or eliminating tariffs on goods and services between the countries. It would also cover investments.
Both leaders expressed the hope that the pact would further contribute to building a higher-level and mutually beneficial economic cooperation between the two countries, the statement said.
The decision to embark on negotiations would take forward the shared goal in the New Strategic Partnership of increasing the volume of bilateral trade and investment, it said. Under the Strategic Partnership, Dr. Singh and Mr. Bambang Yudhoyono set a target of $25 billion by 2015, the statement said.
Taking its FTA with the 10-nation ASEAN bloc a step further, India implemented a free trade pact with Indonesia in October last that slashes import duties on thousands of products, such as seafood, chemicals and apparel. Besides, Indonesia stresses on India as a potential partner because India's investment realisation there has steadily increased during the last 20 years, the statement said.
Both countries agreed to have a Biennial Trade Ministers Forum, including the establishment of a Trade and Investment Forum between the trade ministers to exploit the potential of trade and investment opportunities in both countries, it said.
To address food security, the two leaders encouraged the implementation of the memorandum of understanding in agriculture and allied sectors that were signed on December 31, 2008 along with the implementation of a work plan for 2009-13 in agricultural development and joint research in agriculture science, the statement said.
India and Indonesia signed 18 business MoUs worth $15.1 billion in infrastructure, mining and manufacturing that include private companies such as Tata Power, Adani Global, Trimax Sands, BHEL, SAIL and other companies.