New Zealand Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee is due to visit Jakarta on July 29 to strengthen relations with Indonesia, especially in economic affairs and energy cooperation. (Photo courtesy of US Department of Defense)

New Zealand FM Set for Follow-Up Visit to Indonesia to Boost Ties

BY :SHEANY

JULY 23, 2017

Jakarta. New Zealand Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee is due to visit Jakarta on July 29 to strengthen relations with Indonesia, especially in economic affairs and energy cooperation.

Brownlee's visit is a follow-up of last year's visit by now former Prime Minister John Key.

Speaking during a press briefing in Jakarta on Thursday (20/07), Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said Brownlee will meet with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Manado, North Sulawesi.

The spokesman said the bilateral meeting between Retno and Brownlee will focus on efforts to increase investment.

"We hope to increase access for Indonesian agricultural products, such as fruits, in New Zealand," he said.

He added that the meeting will also focus on increasing cooperation in the energy sector, particularly geothermal energy.

"New Zealand is a pioneer in geothermal energy and we want to try and increase New Zealand investment in Indonesia in this area," Arrmanatha said.

There are approximately 4,400 Indonesian citizens living in New Zealand. The Indonesian government is seeking to increase cooperation in education and tourism, with the latter focusing on a working holiday scheme.

"[With the working holiday scheme], we hope Indonesians going on a vacation to New Zealand will be able to work there during that time as well," the spokesman explained.

In Manado, the two ministers are also scheduled to participate in the Sub-Regional Meeting on Foreign Terrorist Fighters and Cross-Border Terrorism, spearheaded by the Coordinating Ministry of Politics, Legal and Security Affairs.

Arrmanatha said this meeting will also be attended by ministers from Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia and Brunei.

During his visit last year, former Prime Minister Key said Indonesia is an important market for New Zealand exports.

"Equally, we rely on Indonesia to help supply New Zealand with oil products, manufactured goods and fertilizers critical to our agricultural sector," he said at the time.

In an exclusive interview with the Jakarta Globe, Key said New Zealand wanted to make inroads into the energy sector in Indonesia – specifically geothermal energy – as well as the aviation and film industries.

"New Zealand has a lot of expertise in geothermal energy and Indonesia is very rich in geothermal resources," Key said.

In return, New Zealand sought to attract more Indonesian tourists as well as increasing trade, especially in beef exports to the archipelago.

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