Indonesia and Romania have agreed to increase cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, counter-terrorism, COVID-19 handling, and mutual support at international forums during high-level talks held virtually on Thursday.
Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar and director general of American and European affairs at the Foreign Ministry, Ngurah Swajaya, co-chaired the Indonesian delegation at the meeting, according to a written statement released on Friday.
"We identified priority sectors for cooperation in the fields of industry, digital technology, communication, and transportation, including cooperation in the port sector," Siregar informed.
He also highlighted trade barriers imposed by the European Union against palm oil during the meeting and asked Romania, as a member of the 27-nation bloc, to deal with them.
Indonesian palm oil has met the specified standards, he said adding, the barriers have also had an impact on coconut oil, which is one of the main products of Indonesia and several other ASEAN member states.
In an effort to improve economic and trade cooperation, Indonesia and Romania have encouraged direct contact between the business agents of the two nations, Siregar said. Hopefully, the meeting of the Working Group on Trade, Industry and Investment (WGTII) between the two nations, scheduled for October, 2021, will contribute to promoting cooperation between the two countries, he added.
During Thursday’s meeting, the Indonesian delegation also invited Romania to join the hybrid business meeting between Indonesia and Central and Eastern European countries in mid-2021.
Romanian Foreign Minister Cornel Feruta, who led the Romanian delegation at the meeting, offered his sympathy to Indonesia over the suicide bombing outside Cathedral Church in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi province, on Sunday (March 28, 2021).
Feruta also expressed his country's support for Indonesia's efforts to thwart terrorism.
He further drew attention to the large potential for cooperation between the two nations. Romania may serve as a gateway for Indonesian products to the European Union, while Indonesia can become a gateway for Romanian products to the (ASEAN) regional market, he said.
Indonesia and Romania opened diplomatic relations in 1950.
Trade between the two countries reached US$153.4 million in 2020, up 0.8 percent compared to US$152.2 million a year earlier. Indonesia recorded a surplus of US$64.5 million in 2020, with its exports to Romania reaching US$108.9 million.
Indonesia is also one of the tourist destinations frequented by Romanian travelers. In 2019, a total of 18,650 Romanian tourists visited Indonesia, an increase of 32.3 percent compared to 14,092 in 2018.