YOGYAKARTA - Trade value of the Republic of Indonesia and Latin American countries reaches 6.7 billion U.S. dollars, or about 3% of the total trade value of Indonesia and all countries in the world. Value of the volume of trade cooperation is assessed to be below economic potential that could be developed considering they have quite potential resources.
"The challenge now is how to raise good relations, especially in economic field. Indonesian Trade with Latin America is still far below the potential," said Director General for America and Europe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Retno L.P Marsudi, in the inauguration of Sociedad Indonesia para America Latina (SIpAL) or the Indonesian Society for Latin America at the University Club (UC) UGM, Thursday (3/3).
The Indonesian government plans to encourage trade relation with Latin countries through cooperation between government and community. "Their interest is our interest, too. The political relation between Indonesia and Latin America is having a better format now," she said.
Retno explained that the good diplomatic relation is proved by the Indonesia-Latin America in G-77 forum, Non-Aligned Movement and the G-20. This is in accordance with the reference of foreign policy which is adopted by the government, namely 'no enemies and a million friends'.
"What needs to be improved is the relationship among communities. Because, in every democratic country, foreign policy must be driven by communities themselves," she said.
UGM Rector, Prof. Ir. Sudjarwadi, M. Eng., Ph.D., welcomed the launching of SIpAL. It is expected to further strengthen better relationshipbetween Indonesia and Latin America and between universities in Latin American countries with Universitas Gadjah Mada. "There are many opportunities to be explored for developing countries that can bring them closer together," he said. He added the cooperation that has been built so far not only brings benefits to the two sides, but also the world community.
The same thing was also presented by Dean of Faculty of Social and Political Sciences UGM, Prof. Dr. Pratikno. SIpAL will strengthen the cooperation between Indonesian communities and Latin America, especially socio-cultural areas of each country. "We can learn mutually about socio-cultural aspects, from food to politics, from cuisine to football," he said.
SIpAL is one of communities of Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Universitas Gadjah Mada to develop the study of Latin America. Attending the inauguration of SIpAL were Ambassador of Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Chile, and representatives of embassies of Venezuela, Suriname, and Brazil.