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“Exploring Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland Markets at Indonesia-EFTA Business Forum”
Jakarta, 15 July 2019 – Indonesian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs urges EFTA business communities, especially Indonesian business players, to increase their interactions in attempt to take advantage of the potentials of European non-traditional markets. This strategy is one of the three main priorities in implementing the Indonesia-EFTA CEPA as formulated by Indonesian Vice Foreign Minister at the opening of the Indonesia-EFTA Business Forum that facilitated the meeting between 45 entrepreneurs from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, including Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland, and 75 Indonesian entrepreneurs.
Another priority is to create a transparent and effective communication channel between the government and private sectors in order to create synergies to facilitate high-volume foreign trade mobility. Indonesian Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs also highlighted the important roles of Indonesian entrepreneurs in promoting the strong identity of Indonesia through their products that managed to enter the EFTA countries. Indonesian entrepreneurs must be able to create a strong ‘nation branding’ associable with Indonesia.
At the occasion, the Vice FM also encouraged EFTA countries to continue their investment in Indonesia due to the increasingly stable political condition and exhaustive infrastructure development.
Vice FM Fachir also mentioned Indonesia’s increasing trade volume to the EFTA countries. Therefore, the Business Forum is expected to create a momentum to promote the balanced trade development between the two parties.
The forum was held in the form of discussions and invited a number of speakers from the Indonesian government, Indonesian private sectors, and EFTA countries. It was divided into two sessions. The first session presented the keynote speakers from the government institutions, including Indonesian Ministry of Trade’s Bilateral Negotiations Director Ni Made Ayu Marthini, Indonesian Negotiator Team Leader at the EFTA CEPA Ambassador Soemadi D.M. Brotodiningrat, Switzerland Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Bilateral Economic Department Chair Erwin Bollinger, and Norwegian Ambassador for Indonesia Vegard Kaale.
The second session focused more on perspective of the business communities, presenting several keynote speakers from the business sector, including Indonesian Ambassador for Switzerland Muliaman Hadad, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Deputy Chairperson Shinta W. Kamdani, Head of Innovation Norway in Jakarta Fredrik Bjerke Abdelmaguid, Switzerland Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary Marc Engelhard, and representatives from Indonesian exporters that have managed to penetrate the EFTA market, Anton Santoso from STI Precision.
Indonesia-EFTA Business Forum is organized by Indonesian MoFA’s Directorate of European Affairs II, in collaboration with Indonesian Ministry of Trade, Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), and Switzerland Ministry of Economic Affairs. Some giant companies also participated as panelists, including the Norwegian Business Council, Economiesuisse/SwissHub, and STI Company.
On 16 December 2018, Indonesia has officially signed a trade agreement with EFTA (IE-CEPA). The organization of Indonesia-EFTA Business Forum aims to elevate the members’ understanding of the benefits and opportunities created from IE-CEPA for the business players in penetrating the EFTA market, in order to increase the trade and investment volume between Indonesia and EFTA countries.
IE-CEPA is expected to provide opportunities for Indonesia’s main commodities such as palm oil, fish, gold, coffee, footwear, toys, textiles, electrical equipment, and tires to compete in the EFTA market. For Indonesia, EFTA countries are potential source of investment, especially in sectors like hi-techs, health, banking, and telecommunications.