RI, Russia to increase economic relations

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Russia are making every effort to step up bilateral relations in the field of economy between the two countries, a state official has said.

"Hopefully the road map would be signed during the visit to Indonesia by Russian Trade and Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiulina either in October or early in December 2011," Rizal Affandi Lukman. the deputy economic minister for coordination of economic cooperation and international financing affairs, said here on Monday.

To increase the bilateral relations in economy, the two countries are currently preparing a road map in the field of trade and investment.

Rizal made the statement after accompanying Coordinating Minister for Economy Hatta Rajasa to receive Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Alexander A Ivanov.

He explained that the volume of trade and investment between Indonesia and Russia at present was still low at around US$1.7 million in 2010.

Rizal said the figure was still far below the existing potential, although in the first five months of 2011 the trade volume increased by 50 percent to around US$1 billion.

"If the trade volume reaches more than US$2 billion at the end of 2011, it will be an encouraging increase although the figure is still small in comparison with those of other countries," Rizal said.

According to him, a company in Russia was attracted to invest US$2.5 billion in a 185-kilometer railroad from Central Kalimantan to East Kalimantan to transport coal between the two provinces.

Rizal said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on investment in the railroad project was expected to be signed during the visit to Bali by the Russian President to attend the East Asia Summit in November 2011.

"Hopefully the MoU on the railroad project will be signed by Indonesian and Russian related institutions and also involving Central and East Kalimantan provincial governments," Rizal said.

He said possible addition of wheat flour imports from Russia was also discussed at the meeting between Hatta Rajasa and Alexander A Ivanov.