Medina (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Turkey have agreed to set up a high-level strategic council as a communication forum to increase the economic cooperation between the two countries, especially in the fields of trade and investment.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla revealed the agreement he has made with Turkey to newsmen while flying above the Mediterranean Sea aboard a presidential aircraft to Medina on Saturday, where he would conduct a minor hajj pilgrimage after visiting Turkey to attend the Developing Eight Countries (D-8) summit meeting.

"I have agreed to set up a high-level council or a higher body to boost trade, as the role has so far been played only by ministers of trade," he stated.

He later noted that high-level consultations could be done and quick decisions could be taken by coordinating with ministerial-level officials for Indonesia and prime ministerial-level for Turkey.

Kalla added that the forum is hoped to boost economic cooperation, covering not only trade but also investment in the defense, industrial, agricultural, and other sectors.

He remarked that Indonesia has so far enjoyed a surplus in its trade with Turkey, and, in view of that, Turkey wished to balance the trade by increasing cooperation.

Trade between the two countries is currently worth around US$1.5 billion, with Indonesian exports to Turkey reaching $1.2 billion.

Kalla held a bilateral meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Dolmabhace Palace on Friday evening, flanked by foreign minister Retno Marsudi.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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