by Feng Yingqiu
YANGON, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian President Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's current state visit to Myanmar highlighted the two countries' economic cooperation with the two sides agreeing to further increase trade volume to 1 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, up from 500 million dollars set when Myanmar President U Thein Sein visited Indonesia in May 2012.
During talks between the two presidents in Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday shortly after Susilo's arrival, the two sides acknowledged that the current trade volume between the two countries has reached 470 million dollars.
U Thein Sein quoted statistics as saying that up to December 2012, 12 Indonesian firms have invested 241 million dollars in Myanmar with plenty of future investment possibility.
U Thein Sein called for bilateral cooperation in tourism, transportation, livestock and fishery, agriculture, energy and electricity sectors, while welcoming scholarships and cooperation for promotion of technology sector.
Susilo recalled his first trip to Myanmar in 2006 and recognized the country's significant progress in democracy, peace and stability as well as international relations witnessed in his current second visit.
He vowed to increase economic cooperation in supportive of Myanmar's reform, promising to push Indonesia's public and private firms to invest in Myanmar.
He agreed on the cooperation sectors proposed by U Thein Sein, vowing to materialize them.
He wished for Myanmar's successful hosting of 27th Southeast Asian Games in 2013 and ASEAN chairmanship in 2014.
Following talks between the two presidents, three key accords on economic cooperation were signed between the two countries, namely a framework agreement on investment and trade, two memorandums of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in human resources development and on rice trade respectively.
Four additional cooperation accords were also inked which are all MoUs dealing with feasibility study for improving energy efficiency in power delivery and loss reduction pilot programs in Yangon; fertilizer production; capacity building in banking sector and development of precast concrete industry and project management services.
At the invitation of his Myanmar counterpart U Thein Sein, Susilo arrived Nay Pyi Taw Tuesday for a two-day state visit to Myanmar in return to U Thein Sein's to Jakarta in May 2011 which was made at the sideline of the 18th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
U Thein Sein's May 2011 Jakarta trip marked his first overseas one soon after he became the president on March 30 of the year.
In December 2011, Myanmar-Indonesia Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) met in Yangon highlighting political and security cooperation, economic cooperation and social and cultural cooperation.
Over the past year, Indonesian businessmen have been seeking cooperation with Myanmar entrepreneurs in a wide range of sectors.
Businessmen from both sides held business forum, jointly organized by Indonesian Embassy and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI). The forum touched upon such sectors as oil and gas, lubricants, construction, banking, ICT, mining, cement, agricultural produces and airline services.
In 2012, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Indonesia reached 391.08 million U.S. dollars of which Myanmar's export to Indonesia stood 40.37 million dollars while its import from Indonesia was valued at 350.71 million dollars.
Indonesia stood the fourth largest trading partner among ASEAN members after Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, statistics show.
Indonesia has offered to buy 300,000 tons of rice from Myanmar as demand for Myanmar rice in the Southeast Asian member country is on the rise.
Myanmar's rice export to Indonesia reached the peak between 2001-02 and 2005-06 but was almost none after 2005-06 for various reasons.
Myanmar could only export 2,125 tons of rice to Indonesia in the first three quarters of 2011-12 but it sharply increased to 1. 01 million tons in the same period of 2012-13.
According to official statistics, Indonesia's investment in Myanmar amounted to 241.497 million U.S. dollars in 12 projects as of the end of 2012 since Myanmar opened to such investment in late 1988 and standing the 14th in Myanmar's foreign investment line-up.