Indonesia to Barter Coffee, CPO for Russian Jet Fighters
(Source: The Jakarta Post; published August 4, 2017)
JAKARTA --- Indonesian state-owned trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan and Russian state-owned company Rostec have signed a memorandum of understanding to barter Indonesian agricultural commodities for Russian jet fighters.

“The barter deal, which is under the supervision of the two governments, will involve 11 Sukhoi SU-35 jet fighters and several commodities like coffee, palm oil, tea and others,” Trade Minister Enggartiasto “Enggar” Lukita said in a statement on Friday.

Enggar, who is on an official visit to Russia from Aug. 3 to 5, expressed his hope that the agreement would be followed by other agreements in other sectors.

Russia currently faces economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. In response, Russia has limited imports from the US and EU and is looking to other countries for commodity imports.

“It is an opportunity we have to seize. The great potential for economic cooperation during the embargo and counter-embargo goes beyond trade and investment issues. We also have the opportunity to enhance cooperation in tourism, student exchange, energy, technology, aviation, etc.,” Enggar added.

Trade between Indonesia and Russia in 2016 amounted to US$2.11 billion – with Indonesia posting a surplus of $411 million – compared to $1.9 billion in 2015. Indonesian non-oil exports to Russia grew by 8.50 percent in the last five years to a value of $1.3 billion in 2016, while Indonesian exports from January to May this year grew by 54.43 percent to $1.12 billion.

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Indonesia to Barter Palm Oil, Coffee for Russian Fighter Jets
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Aug 08, 2017)
Southeast Asia's largest economy sees US and European sanctions on Russia as an opportunity to boost trade. The value and timeframe of the barter, swapping palm oil and coffee for warplanes, remains unknown.

Indonesia said it would trade palm oil, coffee and other commodities for Russian fighter jets.

The barter deal to exchange 11 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 jets for key commodities was signed on August 4 in Moscow between Russia's Rostec and PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia, both state-owned companies.

"The idea was proposed last year and some people suggested Indonesia should trade the jets with our main commodities," Indonesia's trade ministry spokesman Marolop Nainggolan told news agency AFP.

The European Union and United States have slapped sanctions on Russia for alleged meddling in the US presidential election and its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea.

Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said the sanctions were an opportunity for Indonesia to revive trade with Russia which has fallen since 2012.

Lukita said the barter agreement could open up further bilateral trade deals extending to energy and aviation.

Indonesia already operates 16 Sukhoi jets. The southeast Asian nation made its first purchase in 2003 while it was subject to a US embargo on arms sales due to the military's human rights abuses.

Details of the barter came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was to was due to arrive in Indonesia for two-day visit later Tuesday.

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