Indonesian Ambassador to the European Union (EU) Yuri O. Thamrin has extended an invitation to businesspersons from EU nations to invest in Indonesia while laying emphasis on realizing the aspirations for “truly good” investments.
Ambassador Thamrin made the remark at the ASEAN Trade and Investment Forum 2019 organized by the ASEAN Brussels Committee in Brussels, Belgium, noted a statement from the Indonesian Embassy in Brussels received by ANTARA on Saturday.
While addressing no less than 200 Belgian and EU businesspersons and investors present at the forum, Thamrin elaborated on the idea of “truly good” investments sought by Indonesia that are basically investments that are sustainable and do not harm the environment, offer added value, incorporate a transfer of technology, and employ the local labor force.
Furthermore, the ambassador spoke at length on Indonesia’s encouraging economic posture and notable potential as a trade and investment partner for the EU. Indonesia’s economy is forecast to record a steady positive growth, in the range of 5.2 to 5.5 percent for the 2019-2023 period. Renowned credit rating agencies — S&P, Moody, and Fitch — affirmed Indonesia’s sovereign credit rating at stable.
During the forum, EU investor Johan Nellis stated that Indonesia has a large youth population keen on putting in hard efforts. However, he also pointed to various major challenges that bog down Indonesia’s economy, comprising inadequate infrastructure, particularly in the field of information technology, overlapping local and central government regulations, and constant regulatory amendments.
Representatives from Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX), EU-ASEAN Business Council (EUABC), Voka Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mechelen-Kempen, BESC, Belfius Bank, Playbiz, and Mayor Willebroek, Eddy Bevers that highlighted the significance of connectivity and innovation were attendees at the ASEAN Trade and Investment Forum 2019 organized in Brussels.
The new forum in Belgium will offer a platform to nine other ASEAN members apart from Indonesia for promoting their respective trade and investment potential.
Free Trade Agreement talks between Indonesia and the EU
In 2007, region-to-region FTA negotiations were launched between ASEAN and the EU, with Indonesia as a Party to the negotiations. These negotiations were paused in 2009 bilateral negotiations and were launched between the EU and the individual ASEAN member states.
Bilateral FTA negotiations between the EU and Indonesia were launched on 18 July 2016. The fourth round of talks was conducted in Solo, Indonesia from 19 to 23 February 2018. The FTA between the EU and Indonesia is intended to further develop a key aspect of the overall relationship between the EU and Indonesia, which is based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), in force since May 2014. The FTA aims to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in agricultural products, manufactured goods and services. This would provide important opportunities for trade and FDI between the countries while supporting sustainable development objectives. It is in this vein that the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) in support of FTA negotiations between the European Union and the Republic of Indonesia was commissioned.
Indonesia is one of the fastest growing economies in the region and its GDP increased by 6.2 per cent to EUR 895 billion in 2017. Its economy has more than tripled in size over the past ten years and constitutes 36 per cent of the ASEAN GDP and its economy is expected to continue to grow rapidly at 5.5 per cent per year. Indonesia was ranked as the EU’s fifth largest import partner and fourth largest export partner in ASEAN in 2016. For Indonesia, the EU was its fourth largest global trading partner in 2017. There remains untapped potential for the EU’s trade with Indonesia, considering the country’s rapidly growing economy and importance in the region.