New opportunities for Singapore, Indonesia firms to collaborate

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Singapore and Indonesia stand strong together to overcome the pandemic.

By: Tricia Ang | 6 April 2021

Photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Singapore is set and ready to work closely with Indonesia to surface stronger from the global pandemic, announced Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Thursday, with similar sentiments from Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto.

Both ministers were at a webinar, speaking to a group of entrepreneurs and officials from Indonesia and Singapore.

The event was co-hosted by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Indonesian embassy, in partnership with McKinsey & Co.

“I’m glad that Singapore and Indonesia continue to share strong bilateral ties, underpinned by a robust economic partnership,” said Mr Chan.

He highlighted that Singapore continues to be Indonesia’s top source of foreign investment, accounting for over US$7 billion in realised investments in the first three quarters of 2020.

“Both sides hold complementary strengths of strong manufacturing bases, centres of innovation and global connectivity,” he added.

“Together, we can capture new opportunities in Industry 4.0 adoption for the manufacturing sector, and the digital upskilling of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).”

Mr Chan pointed to examples of initiatives such as the Singapore-Indonesia Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement as both governments have been working in partnership to boost the attractiveness of their respective economies. “We stand ready to work with you to capitalise on opportunities present in both Singapore and Indonesia,” he told participants.

Mr Airlangga expressed his excitement to collaborate with Singapore, which he called a “long-time and important partner”.

In the beginning of this month, vaccinations for Indonesia’s healthcare workers and the elderly, and mass vaccinations are starting from April. Mr Airlangga also shared that Indonesia was heading into 2021 with optimism.

“Indonesia remains an exciting prospect,” he said. “Our large market is still growing, and digitalisation and young demographics provide many opportunities to boost innovation and further strengthen resilience.”

Mr Airlangga cited two major initiatives as examples of progress made in maximising Indonesia’s economic potential. These are the “Omnibus Law” – a bill to overhaul economic laws and regulations, making Indonesia a more business-friendly destination – and the creation of Indonesia’s first sovereign wealth fund, the Indonesia Investment Authority.

In a straw poll conducted later in the event, the vast majority (95% of approximately 175) of attendees polled saw “many synergies” in business collaboration between Singapore and Indonesian companies. However, half of them said they were facing implementation challenges, while 21% said they did not know where to start.

Darius Tan, assistant chief executive of the Singapore Business Federation, said during a panel that the chamber’s GlobalConnect@SBF initiative was supporting SMEs in Singapore and Asean, by helping them land commercial deals.

He also attested to increasing interest from Singapore businesses to work with Indonesian ones, in sectors such as SME microfinancing, upskilling, technology solutions and healthcare.

Credit: The Business Times

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