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Trading palm oil for fighter jets

August 8, 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.

Waffendeal Russland China Sukhoi Su-35 Kampfflieger
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

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.

Palm oil: Cheap or fair?

"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.

ap/se (AP, AFP)