A Message from the Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia on its 75th Independence Day

Business | 17 Aug 2020 9:00 am

On this auspicious occasion of the 75th anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence Day, it is a tremendous pleasure and honor for me to extend my sincerest greetings to all Indonesians residing in Hong Kong and Macao. In this same opportunity, I would like to convey my warmest regards to the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region.

Indonesia – Hong Kong Relations

Hong Kong and Indonesia have shared a cordial relationship that we view as of great importance. In the past 70 years, warm ties between Indonesia, Hong Kong and China have been nurtured.

Since the President of the Republic of Indonesia H.E. Joko Widodo’s visit to Hong Kong in 2017, and the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR Mrs. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s return visit to Jakarta in 2018, follow-up partnership has continued to progress, covering not only economic, trade and investment developments, but also the culture and education sectors.

Workers in Hong Kong

With regard to labour cooperation, we see that the number of Indonesian workers in Hong Kong is increasing every year. By 2020, more than 165 thousand Indonesians have registered as migrant workers in Hong Kong.

The protection of our workers is a shared responsibility between Indonesia and Hong Kong. I am grateful for the Hong Kong Government’s commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of Indonesian workers in Hong Kong, especially those working as foreign domestic workers so that they can live and work in a safe and welcoming environment.

In such current situations as now, the Hong Kong Government has shown progressive efforts in collaboration, ensuring the best protection and service for all Indonesian workers in Hong Kong. We highly appreciate Hong Kong laws and regulations on the protection of foreign domestic workers, and we look forward to establishing stronger enforcement in order to guarantee the rights of these domestic workers.

Strong economic partnership

Hong Kong is one of the major trading partners and sources of investment for Indonesia. With its strategic and privileged location, Hong Kong has steadfastly committed to the enactment of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle. The city is instrumental in connecting China with Indonesia and the world beyond, and vice versa.

In terms of investment, Hong Kong is among the top foreign investor sources for Indonesia in the past few years. In the first half of 2020, Hong Kong was the 3rd largest investor. Indonesia has been actively improving connectivity between different parts of the country through roads, railways, airports and other strategic projects, and we are very open to investment to help increase the competitiveness and improve the business environment of our country.

Hong Kong and Indonesia have been actively fostering cooperation in economic development. I am confident that the positive and strong collaboration between Indonesia and Hong Kong will lead to future developments that are mutually beneficial.

Boosting Tourism

China, including Hong Kong, is the largest source of foreign tourists to Indonesia.

Continuous efforts have been exerted to improve our tourism infrastructure and facilities to provide enhanced travel experience to visitors. We are actively trying to promote Indonesia’s rich tourism destinations beyond Bali. The archipelago is brimming with attractions and unique offerings yet to be discovered.

The ‘10 New Bali’, declared by President Joko Widodo in 2017, seeks to invite visitors to discover 10 designated destinations that truly reflect the beauty and culture of Indonesia. They include Lombok Mandalika, Borobudur Temple, Tanjung Lesung, The Thousand Islands, Tanjung Kelayang Beach, Mount Bromo, Labuan Bajo, Wakatobi, Morotai Island, as well as Lake Toba, which recently garnered a world-class certification as UNESCO’s Global Geopark. To adapt to the current pandemic, Indonesia has geared up to reopen its tourism destinations and welcome back tourists while imposing stringent measures to mitigate health risks.

A warm celebration

I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation once again to the government of the Hong Kong SAR for continuously maintaining and enhancing mutual benefits in our relation. To my fellow Indonesians in Hong Kong, may the 75th year of our independence be fulfilling to you. To the people in Hong Kong and Macao, may our bilateral relations continue to flourish and be mutually beneficial for both parties in the years to come.

Indonesia: A land of rising opportunities

Indonesia is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia and the fourth most populous nation after China, India, and the United States. It has maintained stability and gained recognition as one of Asia Pacific’s most vibrant middle-income economies.

To support the advancing economy, Indonesia continues to reform policies intended to cut red tape and make it easier to conduct business and attract investment. Rapidly propelling the competitiveness of the business environment, Indonesia has climbed 34 places since 2015 to 72nd in terms of the ease of doing business in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs’ report.

Hong Kong is an important economic partner to Indonesia. In the past few years, the foreign direct investment (FDI) from Hong Kong has sustained the top 4 in the list of foreign investors’ sources for Indonesia. The realization of Hong Kong FDI to Indonesia in the first half of 2020 has reached US$1.8 billion, which puts Hong Kong as the third largest investor for Indonesia after Singapore and China. This demonstrates our strong cooperation even in such a testing time as now.

The recent initiatives of the management of China-Indonesia Economic and Trade Cooperation Zones industrial parks, as well as China Fortune Land Development (CFLD) International’s Karawang New Industry City in Indonesia, have offered investment opportunities for Hong Kong private sectors to engage their projects which span integrated production, warehousing, and trade.

There is still immense potential for forging new partnerships. The Indonesian government offers many potential investment opportunities in sectors such as pharmacy, renewable energy, services, tourism, creative industries and vocational training.

Indonesia also gets in sync with the ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution through strengthening start-up businesses with China, and leveraging Hong Kong’s financial technology and global network to foster the country’s technological development.

One can also ride on the newly announced US$33-billion project to build a new capital city in East Kalimantan province. As the project matures, it will be open to foreign investment soon, welcoming the inflow of foreign investors and their expertise.

In terms of trade, the Action Plan on Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) was signed between Indonesia and Hong Kong on June 26th, 2019. Once the MRA AEO Memorandum of Understanding is implemented, benefit in the form of trade facilitation will be yielded for the two parties.

Furthermore, with the entry into force of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Area (FTA) last month, bilateral trade between Indonesia and Hong Kong will positively see further improvement. Hong Kong service providers will enjoy better business opportunities and legal certainty in the market access for different services sectors in Indonesia under the FTA.

Tourism and Social-cultural cooperation

Comprising of more than 17,000 islands, Indonesia is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, five UNESCO Global Geoparks, as well as many other cultural attractions, making it the perfect destination for travelers. China, including Hong Kong, is the largest source of foreign tourists to Indonesia, with more than 50 thousand tourists from Hong Kong visiting Indonesia last year.

The Familiarization Trip program was inaugurated to promote Hong Kong people’s visits to Indonesia. Curated for Hong Kong media, travel agents, travel vlogger/blogger, several representatives are invited to visit tourist destinations in Indonesia each year, providing them with an opportunity to experience authentic Indonesian warmth through its fascinating communities, soul-warming cuisine and stunning scenery.

Although the current coronavirus outbreak has grounded global tourism to a halt, the Indonesian tourism industry is all ready for massive changes until the world recovers from the pandemic and international travel begins again. Necessary health protocols, entry access and distancing measure are being prepared to embrace the new normal. We highly recommend you to design your own Indonesia Bucket List to prepare for visits once the pandemic is over.

Regarding cultural exchange, the Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation has been signed between Hong Kong and Indonesia in 2017 to strengthen relations in art and culture as well as people-to-people contact. To build mutual understanding between people of Hong Kong and Indonesia, such interaction and exchange are of fundamental importance for the two parties.

Massive efforts have been exerted to promote people-to-people contact. The second Indonesian Language Program Course in Hong Kong will start at the University of Hong Kong in late 2020, promoting the Indonesian language among Hong Kong communities.

In terms of education, both Indonesia and Hong Kong offer scholarships to students. The Hong Kong Government’s Belt and Road Scholarship has awarded around 40 Indonesian students since 2017. It is expected that this number will grow in the future. To date, there are hundreds of Indonesian students in Hong Kong, enrolled in many top universities.

The Indonesian Government also offers the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship (IACS) for Hong Kong students. The IACS provides opportunities to those who are interested in learning about the Indonesian arts, culture, and language to stay in Indonesia for 3 to 4 months. A close network between IACS alumni is maintained through alumni talks, discussion and projects completed by alumni all over the world. Indonesia is aiming to have more Hong Kong students participating in this program in the future.

It is hoped that when the situation returns to normal in near future, Indonesian Consulate General would be able to engage Hong Kong arts and culture scene, such as the Hong Kong Flower Show, art, culinary and music festivals, to share Indonesian delicacies and rich cultures with the people of Hong Kong.

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