Singapore and Indonesia discuss setting up bilateral business platform

Singapore and Indonesia are looking into establishing a bilateral business platform for companies on both sides to interact regularly and build familiarity with each other.

The was disclosed in a joint media release on Friday by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) at the close of a business mission to Jakarta and Semarang led by Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck.

Th trip, which involved 25 Singapore companies, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), aimed to engage and get a sense of the economic priorities of the new Indonesian administration of President Joko Widodo.

Mr Teo Ser Luck said in the statement that the Indonesian side responded positively to the proposal for a private sector-led platform and for the government to play a facilitative role.

"This will make business-to-business collaboration more systematic, provide businesses with more detailed insights on key projects of interest to Indonesia, facilitate identifying potential partners, and help resolve any difficulties faced by companies," he said.

"The sheer size of Indonesia in population and geography presents opportunities for Singapore SMEs, whose growth in Singapore may be constrained by land, manpower and cost issues," he added.

The mission saw fruitful discussions with top Indonesian officials, including newly appointed Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Trade Minister Rachmat Gobel, the chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Suryo Bambang Sulisto, and the deputy chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, Azhar Lubis, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo.

The statement said they welcomed Singapore investments and partnership with Indonesia, and highlighted potential for Singapore's expertise to contribute to Indonesia's development in the areas of water, waste management, power, transport and urban development.

The delegates also participated in networking and business matching sessions, and met Singapore companies with longstanding presence in Indonesia. These included Singapore furniture manufacturer and retailer Cellini, which shared its experience with locating and running its local manufacturing operations in Indonesia.

Singapore company Cyclect Energy also signed a memorandum of understanding with PT. Berkat Manunggal Jaya (BMJ), one of Indonesia's top power equipment manufacturing companies.