19
July

Indonesian men`s and women`s field hockey teams groomed for the Asian Games 2018 have increasingly improved their performance after they underwent training at the national training center and joined test events in Malaysia, the Indonesian Hockey Federation (FHI) said.

"The team is currently more structured, either at the time of defending or attacking," FHI Secretary General Yasser Arafat stated in Jakarta on Wednesday, July 18.

They have also been familiarized with the instructions of their Malaysian coach Lim Chiow Chuan, Arafat remarked.

But they are yet to completely understand the games, he added.

This is quite reasonable since the Indonesian national field hockey team has never taken part in any international leagues as their Malaysian counterparts have done, he explained.

"It is a matter of improving their understanding since the sport has been developing rapidly, while Indonesia has no professional league. Also, it is the first time that the national team is trained by a foreign coach," he revealed.

The Indonesian field hockey teams groomed for the Asian Games 2018 are staying in Malacca, Malaysia. However, they also have undergone trials in several areas in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, he pointed out. (ANTARA)

19
July

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno L. P. Marsudi is expected to be the first person to carry the Asian Games torch from the Yogyakarta Palace, Thursday.

"We thank the foreign affairs minister for her willingness to participate in the torch relay, as it would boost our spirit, particularly of the Indonesian athletes, who will compete next month," Eris Herryanto, secretary general of the Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc), stated in Yogyakarta, Thursday, July 19.

Governor of Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X will light the flame and hand over the torch to Minister Marsudi.

The minister will run for 100 meters toward the north square of Yogyakarta and later hand over the torch to Yogyakarta Police Chief Brig. Gen. Ahmad Dofiri.

Several VIPs and athletes will participate in the torch relay in Yogyakarta that will cover a total distance of 8.5 kilometers (km).

From Yogyakarta, the torch relay will head to Surakarta, where badminton player Sigit Budiarto and actress Dian Sastrowardoyo will also run carrying the torch in their hands.

The torch relay will tour 53 cities in 18 provinces, with a total distance of some 18 thousand km across Indonesia.

Last Tuesday (July 17), the torch arrived in Yogyakarta from New Delhi, with the flame generated from a parabolic mirror directed straight at the sun in India, where the Asian Games flame was lit for the first time during the inaugural edition in 1951.

On Wednesday evening, the flame from India was merged with the eternal flame from Mrapen, at the Pramanan Temple.

After the merging of the two flames, Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla handed over the torch to badminton player Finarshi at the complex of Prambanan temple.

The relay is expected to end on Aug 17 when the torch arrives at the Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.

Over 16 thousand athletes from 45 countries will participate in the 18th Asian Games, to be co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra Province, from August 18 to September 2, 2018. (ANTARA)

19
July

Indonesian President Joko Widodo highly appreciated the consistency and commitment of the government of the Federated States of Micronesia in respecting Indonesia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation at various fora in the South Pacific region, including the Pacific Islands Forum," Widodo told journalists at a joint press conference with visiting President Peter M. Christian in Bogor on Wednesday, July 18.

Christian`s state visit was a new milestone for the two countries` relations, he stated, adding that the two governments pledged to enhance the countries` cooperation in various sectors, particularly in maritime and inter-island connectivity.

"As archipelagic countries, we have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in maritime and inter-island connectivity." In this connection, Indonesia has offered the N219 aircraft to help strengthen the country`s inter-island connectivity and meet the needs of its air transportation.

"Christian will visit the state aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in Bandung tomorrow," he noted.

Indonesia and Micronesia share many similarities. They both belong to the Pacific nations and are categorized as archipelagic countries, he remarked, adding that Indonesia has at least 17 thousand islands, while Micronesia possesses around 600 islands.

Indonesia and Micronesia were also willing to support their business people for having a better interaction. Therefore, the Micronesian entrepreneurs would be invited to join the Great Expo Indonesia 2018.

Indonesia also vowed to appoint its honorary consul to the country to strengthen bilateral relationship. Indonesia would also offer scholarships and development cooperation programs in an effort to strengthen people-to-people contact among citizens of the two countries, he concluded.

Meanwhile, Christian revealed that the two countries have had a diplomatic relationship for 27 years, and his government is committed to working together with Jakarta in various fields, including making a closer relationship through people-to-people contact.

In doing so, a university student exchange program and inter-university cooperation would be part of the programs, he stated, adding that his government also welcomed a better economic cooperation and closer relationship among businessmen of the two countries.

Christian, who has Ambonese ethnic blood ties, also congratulated Indonesia for its success in becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

During his visit to Indonesia, Christian is scheduled to visit Ambon, the capital city of Maluku Province. For him, Indonesia is not a stranger, because he has ethnic blood ties with the people of Ambon, in which he belongs to the third generation of Ambonese in Micronesia.

"This shows that the two nations have indeed had people-to-people relations for tens and even hundreds of years ago," Widodo remarked. (ANTARA)

19
July

Indonesia to Negotiate with US on GSP

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Indonesia will soon negotiate with the US, which plans to raise the generalized system of preference (GSP) facility for Indonesia.

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita will lead an Indonesian delegation during a working visit to the US from July 21 to 28, Director General of National Export Development at the Trade Ministry Arlinda said in Jakarta on Wednesday, July 18.

"We will leave for the US along with the trade minister. Through the negotiations, we will assure (the US) that we still need GSP. We hope (the US) will not raise it," she added.

US President Donald Trump is assessing the GSP policy, which is believed to have caused a deficit in the US trade with its trade partners.

The program, which was introduced in 1976, was stopped in 2013 and was revived in June 2015.

In 2012, Indonesia was among the five countries enjoying the GSP facility. The others are India, Thailand, Brazil, and South Africa. But since April 2018, the US government has reconsidered to grant the facility to Indonesia and India.

The Trump government is set to evaluate 124 types of Indonesian products, including textiles, plywood, and fishery products, including shrimp and crab.

"They have export ceiling. If exports exceed the US-set value, the US will consider the products to be competitive and no longer deserving GSP. We must be able to maintain the main markets for our products while at the same time seeking other markets (for Indonesian products)," she noted.

The Indonesian delegation`s planned visit to the US is part of the government`s step to anticipate the dynamics of international trade. Today, many countries have introduced protectionism policies by raising import duties.

Indonesia is set to meet an invitation from the United States Trade Representatives (USTR) ambassador to discuss the US review of the countries receiving GSP facility.

According to the Indonesian Trade Ministry, trade between Indonesia and the US in 2017 was valued at US$25.91 billion. Indonesia`s exports to the US reached $17.79 billion, while its imports from the US stood at $8.12 billion. As a result, Indonesia enjoyed a surplus of $9.67 billion in its trade with the US. (ANTARA)