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China to import more Indonesian products

Jakarta

CHINA would import more Indonesian products and increase investment in South-east Asia's largest economy, a top Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday, as Jakarta urged Beijing to remove barriers to make trade between the two countries more balanced.

"We look forward to expanding imports from Indonesia and the Chinese investments in Indonesia so that we could bring about more healthy and balanced growth of trade between our two countries," visiting State Councillor Wang Yi said in a joint statement with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. China is Indonesia's biggest trade partner and an important source of investment, but the large trade deficit with China has often been a source of concern in Indonesia.

The deficit shrunk considerably between January to November 2020, falling to US$7 billion from US$15.4 billion in the same period in 2019, as Indonesia's demand for imported products plunged amid a coronavirus epidemic and its first recession in 22 years.

Indonesian minister Retno urged China to remove trade barriers for the country's top products, such as palm oil, fisheries, fruits and bird's nest, as a way to address the trade imbalance. "Efforts should be made to pursue an improving and more balanced trade."

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Ms Retno said Indonesia also agreed to a Chinese study over the Lambakan dam project in East Kalimantan. Mr Wang did not mention the dam, but said China and Indonesia should have synergy with their respective infrastructure programmes - the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Maritime Fulcrum programme. Mr Wang also said he supported Indonesia's plan to become a regional hub for the production of vaccines. REUTERS

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