Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi and her Fijian counterpart, Inia Batikoto Seruiratu agreed that the two countries promote concrete economic cooperation in the Pacific region. Minister Retno Marsudi met Minister Inia on the sidelines of the 12th Bali Democracy Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali on Thursday (5 December). This was reported in a written statement of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued on Friday (6/12). On this occasion, Minister Inia Batikoto affirmed his support for the Indonesian government's commitment to enhance cooperation with the South Pacific countries, as a form of Indonesia's contribution to the security stability, peace and prosperity in the region.
Based on the successful implementation of the Pacific Exposition in Auckland, New Zealand in July 2019, the government of Indonesia once again invites Fijian government to collaborate in the Pacific Fair 2020 which will be held by Indonesia. Pacific Fair 2020 is expected to produce more concrete partnerships in the economic field in a bid to maintain the positive partnerships that have been established between Indonesia and the South Pacific countries during the Pacific Exposition.
Furthermore, both ministers also discussed the initial preparations for the formation of the Indonesia-Fiji Preferential Trade Agreement (IF-PTA). The trade agreement is expected to expand the opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries in the fields of investment, infrastructure and connectivity. Thus, both sides hope that the initial stage of IF-PTA negotiations can be carried out in the first quarter of 2020.
In the field of agriculture, Minister Retno Marsudi said that the Fijian government specifically expressed hope that Indonesia could provide capacity building assistance in the form of training to manage agricultural products, such as cassava and sweet potatoes.
In addition, Indonesia and Fiji are exploring cooperation for the development of seaweed. This collaboration is concretely carried out in a partnership project between the two countries to establish a seaweed center.
Based on the written statement of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so far the Indonesian government has continued to be committed to playing a major role in overcoming various challenges faced by countries in the Pacific region where most of the regions are island nations.
These challenges bring about impacts of climate change, marine issues and natural disasters. Besides, the Indonesian government also wants to contribute to efforts to develop the Pacific region.