Speaker: Mr. Saut Siringoringo
Mr Saut Siringoringo, Consul General of Republic of Indonesia, Mumbai interacted with the industrial fraternity at VIA this evening. The meeting was organized by VIA Exim Forum
Mr Siringoringo said with 260 million people, Indonesia was the third largest democracy in the world after India and USA and it accounts for total GDP of $ 850 million which is increasing by 2.15 per cent. Indonesia also was a large growing market but its manufacturing sector contributes only 18.50 percent to the GDP, indicating that there was large scope for manufacturing industry in Indonesia. He further said that Indonesia has streamlined its system and has cut down the number of trade licences from 49 to 25 and also cut down the time for all permissions and licenses to 30 days.
He revealed that compared to Indian investment of $ 57 million in Indonesia, Indonesian investment in India was minuscule. During last one and half years, nine Indonesian companies have set up businesses in India and efforts are on to encourage more and more companies to invest in India. He also revealed that compared to $ 11.71 billion exports to India from Indonesia, the imports from India stood at a meager $ 2.74 billion. Due to this, Indonesia was keen on strengthening bilateral trade and enhancing Trade & Investment between India and Indonesia and also informed to audience about opportunities available for manufacturing sector in Indonesia.
Mr Siringoringo also said that traditionally India imported coal and palm oil from Indonesia but recently it has also started efforts to export pulp and paper, electronic goods, footwear etc to India.
Mr Siringoringo also said that Indonesia was committed to bureaucratic reforms and due to its political stability- it serves as an ideal investment destination. For example, president is elected directly by people and not by elected representatives, he said and also added that even though Muslims comprise majority of its population, it is not an Islamic Republic.
Replying to questions, Mr Siringoringo also dispelled the myth that being a Muslim dominated country, Indonesia was vulnerable to Islamic terrorists activities. Last year, the Indonesian authorities successfully foiled a bid to attack a shopping mall in Jakarta.
Nagpur important in ‘Make in India’ Mr Siringoringo also added that Nagpur being the geocentric location of the country has to play an important role in the ‘Make in India’ programme and that is why Indonesian government has decided to explore business opportunities in and around Nagpur and specially Mihan-SEZ.
Talking about Indo-Indonesia trade, Mr Siringoringo said that after review of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India in 2011, Indonesia is actively hoping that trade barriers between the two countries will be resolved and way will be paved for bilateral Free Trade between the two countries. At present trade between India and Indonesia is done through ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA), which is inconvenient to both countries.
Mr Siringoringo also said that with 260 million population, Indonesia alone comprises nearly half of the 600 million population of 10 ASEAN countries and with a per capita income of over 5,000 US $ , people have sufficient purchasing power and hence offers excellent trade opportunities for India.
At present Indonesia imports cotton, textiles, petroleum products etc from India and exports mostly Palm oil and coal to India, he said. Indonesia was also trying to focus on exports of other products and commodities to India, he said.
Mr Siringoringo also disclosed that Indonesia imports 90 percent of pharmaceutical products and majority of them were from India. He also disclosed that Indian saree was extremely poplar in Indonesia and most textile outlets in Indonesia were run by people of Indian origin.
Ethnically, India and Indonesia have several cultural commonalities and that is why over one lakh people of Indian origin still comprise the Indonesian population. Mr Siringoringo also disclosed that even after having 85 percent Muslim population, Indonesia was not an Islamic Republic but a democratic country. It has 60 to 70 percent middle class and upper middle people and it is planning to lift remaining 30 per cent poor population to middle class level by 2020, the envoy disclosed.
At the outset, Mr Ashit Sinha, Vice President VIA delivered the welcome address and requested the envoy to consider imports of bamboo from Vidarbha and also organize Indonesia’s famous Ramayana show in Nagpur.
The consul general was accompanied by consul for economics Mr Hariyanta Soetarto, Consul (Economics), Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Mumbai; Mr Walfred Tagor Manihuruk, Director , Indonesian Trade Promotion Center (ITPC) in Chennai and Mr Vijay V Tawde, Assistant (Economics), Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Mumbai.
Mr Suhas Buddhe, Chairman VIA Entrepreneurship Forum conducted the proceedings and proposed a vote of thanks. A large number of entrepreneurs, businessmen and industrialists attended the interactive meet.
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