S'pore, Indonesia agree to continue work on improving logistics and other trade links

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong (right) and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY

SINGAPORE - Singapore and Indonesia will continue work to improve connectivity between the two nations, as travel restrictions ease and economic activities on both sides resume.

Business visa requirements for Asean citizens on short working trips to Batam, Bintan, Karimun, the main Indonesian islands closest to Singapore collectively known as BBK, will also be waived.

Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto reached agreement on these points, among others, at the 12th Singapore-Indonesia Six Bilateral Economic Working Groups Ministerial Meeting on Tuesday (Aug 30).

The meeting is an annual affair to discuss economic initiatives between the countries in six areas: Batam, Bintan, Karimun and other special economic zones, investment, manpower, transport, agri-business as well as tourism.

"At the meeting, both ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral economic ties to capture growth opportunities amidst the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and resumption of economic activities on both sides," said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI).

"The ministers noted key outcomes, including the completion of the Singapore-BBK Logistics Ecosystem Joint Study by the Singapore Economic Development Board and the Indonesia Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, that will help improve logistics connectivity between Singapore and the BBK region."

Other outcomes of the meeting were the waiver of business visa requirements for Asean citizens conducting short business trips to BBK, and investment facilitation efforts by Enterprise Singapore and the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board in the healthcare, digital economy and sustainable infrastructure sectors, which MTI said will create more investment opportunities for local companies.

The ministers also agreed on expanding the collaboration of agri-business between the countries, which includes the facilitation of Indonesia's first exports of frozen chicken and heat-treated chicken products to Singapore.

MTI said that the leaders also signed an agreement for an exchange programme to develop tech talent between the two countries.

"Both countries agreed to explore establishing a programme that can leverage the synergies shared by Singapore's and Indonesia's tech ecosystems and that aims to grow the capabilities of both countries' tech workforces."

Singapore and Indonesia share close trade and investment ties. Last year, Indonesia was the Republic's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade amounting to $59.1 billion.

Singapore has also consistently been Indonesia's top source of foreign direct investments since 2014, and its investments in Indonesia amounted to US$9.4 billion (S$13.1 billion) last year, notwithstanding the pandemic.

Singapore continues to hold this position this year, recording a total of US$6.7 billion in investments for the first half of 2022, said MTI.

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