*RI, US to boost cooperation in trade, educational sectors

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and the United States make pledges to strengthen cooperation in trade and educational sectors, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

The minister said so here on Sunday during a joint press conference with US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, minutes after the two`s bilateral meeting in Bali.

"During meeting with the state secretary this morning, both of us listen to a report made by members of working group that handle various sectors of US-RI cooperation namely in trade and investment, education, security, energy and environment. Both ministers agree that cooperation between the two countries are increasing and we look forward to further cooperation," Marty said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underlined her intention to increase trade value between the US and Indonesia.

"Indonesia is the largest economic power in ASEAN but we only have a US$20 billion of trade value last year. This is lower compared to our trade with Malaysia that reached US$40 billion. We see the potential to increase trade with Indonesia," she said.

In the educational sector, both ministers in their written joint statement expressed support to increasing the number of exchange students between Indonesia and the US.

According to the report of the Working Group on Educational Cooperation between Indonesia and the US, there was an increase in the exchange of students and scholars between the two countries during the past years. The working group also reported the increasing number of inter-university partnership to strengthen educational capacity especially in the fields of science and technology.

The working group during the meeting with Minister Natalegawa and Secretary of State Clinton on Sunday also reported a progress in English and Indonesian language learning in the respective countries as a tool to strengthen collaboration and mutual understanding between Indonesia and the US.

Responding to the working group`s report, the two ministers stated they were eager to continue cooperation in the educational sector. "We also welcome the upcoming Indonesia-US Higher Education Summit to be held in Washington DC on October 31, 2011 as another means to further engage the higher education and private sector communities in both countries" their joint statement said.(*)