JAKARTA – Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his Chilean counterpart, Michelle Bachelet, committed on Friday in Jakarta to concluding negotiations by the end of the year on an Indonesia-Chile comprehensive economic partnership agreement in 2017.
Bachelet said during a press conference that she and Widodo signed on Friday a written commitment regarding both countries’ will to finalize negotiations over the trade deal by the end of 2017.
Bachelet added that a trade deal would lift the bilateral relations to increased levels of integration and cooperation.
Indonesia and Chile began negotiations on a free trade treaty in 2014 in the Chilean capital of Santiago.
Bachelet also stressed the strategic importance of her country’s relations with Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populated with nearly 260 million inhabitants, and the largest country in Southeast Asia.
The bilateral trade treaty was valued at $321.2 million in 2015. Cathodes, iron ore and concentrates being Chile’s main exports to Indonesia while it imported mainly shoes from Indonesia, according to ProCile data.
Widodo and Bachelet, who witnessed the signing of visa extension treaty for diplomatic passport holders, also discussed other issues such as investment in the energy sector and collaboration in protecting the environment and oceans.
The Chilean leader then met with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General, Le Luong Minh, around midday.
They discussed the relations between ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance, according to the Chilean embassy in Jakarta.
ASEAN, which comprises Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, countries which jointly represent a market of 625 consumers, aims to establish a single-market by 2025.
Bachelet, accompanied by the Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, parliamentarians and businessmen, arrived in Jakarta on Thursday night.
The Chilean president leaves Indonesia for China on Friday for a two-day state visit, during which she will participate in the inauguration of the “One Belt, One Road” summit.