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Trade official envisions growing HK-Indonesia partnership

The port of Tanjung Priok is the busiest port in Jakarta, Indonesia. It has opened routes to Hong Kong and other ports in China. From here, goods can be transported to China in six days. Photo: XINHUA


 

Indonesia and Hong Kong are important stations along the proposed routes of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative. More and more companies and individuals from ASEAN countries want to go to China for business practice and individual development. Recently, Luo Jianwei, director of the Economic and Trade Office of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Jakarta, was invited to talk about topics such as how to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between Hong Kong and Indonesia under the B&R initiative.


Luo said that Indonesia, as the largest economy in ASEAN, has developed rapidly in recent years. “This time in Indonesia, I chose to walk through the city to conduct research. I found that the central cities, such as Jakarta, are very dynamic. Indonesia and the world are confident about future development. There can be wide-ranging opportunities for cooperation among the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, ASEAN and Indonesia,” Luo said, adding that Hong Kong can act as an intermediary because its entrepreneurs and business environment are highly flexible.


First, enterprises in Indonesia and ASEAN countries should be encouraged to establish companies in Hong Kong or expand investment in the Chinese mainland. The above-mentioned enterprises can put Hong Kong’s comprehensive advantages to good use, including familiarity with the Chinese mainland and global markets, mature commercial networks and abundant high-caliber people. Second, Indonesia can assist the Chinese mainland to connect with ASEAN enterprises and advance B&R construction. Hong Kong can supply experience for Indonesia in the areas of talent training and large-scale project planning. Third, Hong Kong can also promote ASEAN member states to develop in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. The economic aggregate of the Greater Bay Area equals that of South Korea. The ASEAN countries have made positive responses to the initiative because of the complementary sectors and active markets in Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao. Hong Kong has also taken the lead in investment planning, research innovation, research application and intellectual property protection. In addition, ASEAN countries can cooperate with the region in such fields as high-end manufacturing, last-scale production and marketing, thus radiating influence across the entire value chain.


Luo said that in recent years, the overall economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and ASEAN have been favorable. However, their total trade volume was only $5.4 billion. Hong Kong and Indonesia have an average annual growth rate of more than 7%, faster than the ASEAN average by 2 percentage points. Hong Kong is Indonesia’s fourth largest source of foreign direct investment. There is still huge room for trade growth. The coming into force of the free trade agreement and investment pact will greatly improve the convenience, transparency, coherence and stability of bilateral economic and trade relations.


Looking ahead, Luo said future cooperation between the two sides will focus on the digital economy. At present, there are four internet giants in Indonesia, and the number is expected to increase to five this year. Hong Kong’s financial technology companies, science and technology centers, artificial intelligence experts and cultural talent can promote Indonesia to leap forward in its development through the digital economy. Hong Kong will create a favorable environment for Indonesian talent to receive education and get employed in Hong Kong. Hong Kong will protect the legitimate rights of Indonesian workers who come to Hong Kong for housekeeping jobs and pension services. As the international trading environment gets tighter, Hong Kong export and manufacturing companies hope to expand production in Indonesia and ASEAN and thereby seek new markets outside the US and Europe. Also, Hong Kong wants to develop an in-depth understanding of such areas as Surabaya, Medan and Solo in Indonesia, thus boosting exchanges among people and enterprises.

 

This article was translated from Economic Daily.

edited by MA YUHONG


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