Indonesia, Singapore to boost island cooperation

BATAM, Riau Islands (AP): The leaders of Singapore and Indonesia met Sunday to sign a deal that would help set up special economic zones on three islands that lie close to the city-state to attract much-needed foreign investors.

The framework agreement on economic cooperation on Indonesia's Batam, Bintan and Karimun islands is designed to attract more Singaporean and international business to the region.

Indonesia and Singapore have agreed to jointly look at ways to make it easier and cheaper for businesses to set up shop on the islands by cutting out red tape and giving tax incentives to companies.

Singapore is the largest foreign investor in Riau Islands province. Almost one-third of about 800 foreign companies in Batam and Bintan are subsidiaries of Singapore-based companies.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will also continue long-standing negotiations on an extradition treaty as part of regional cooperation in combating terrorism and security, an Indonesian government spokesman said. (***)
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