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Indonesian food sector cooperates with Korea

The ASEAN-Korea Center in Seoul held a trade facilitation workshop in Indonesia last week in the food and beverage sector.

The seminars in Jakarta and Makassar, Indonesia, on April 4 and Thursday, respectively, drew 550 representatives from Indonesia’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and government branches. The events were co-organized with the Korea International Trade Association and Indonesian Ministry of Trade.

The seminars were designed to help Indonesian companies gain competitiveness in the international market, with Korean firms sharing branding, marketing, packaging and logistics strategies as well as the latest information on market trends and consumer preferences. The companies also held one-on-one business meetings with Indonesian counterparts.

The food and beverage industry is one of top 10 priority sectors in Indonesia identified under the Master Plan for National Industry Development 2015-35. It accounts for around one-quarter of the country’s total manufacturing value.

“Economic structures between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Korea are highly complementary,” the center’s Secretary-General Kim Young-sun told The Korea Herald. “ASEAN has things we don’t have -- natural resources, young people and dynamic growth, while we have advanced technologies and skills. If well-managed, our mutual trade and investment could be highly beneficial.”

Noting the ASEAN Economic Community is integrating the economies of the 10 member states in a seamless single production network, the former career diplomat argued that trade in goods and services, investment and labor and capital mobility will be facilitated through regional and global value chains.

In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up 98 percent of the region’s businesses, are harnessing their capacities amid a regional shift toward higher-value-added industries.

Bilateral trade between Indonesia and Korea topped nearly $15 billion last year, an 80-fold increase since bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1973. Korea is Indonesia’s third-largest investor after Singapore and Japan, and has diversified its investments from labor-intensive sectors to the manufacturing of steel, autos and electronics, as well as finance and retail. Currently over 3,000 Korean firms are operating in Indonesia, the largest country in ASEAN in terms of population and economy, accounting for 45 percent and 40 percent of the group, respectively.

Over 400,000 Korean tourists visit Indonesia annually, and some 40,000 Koreans live there. In Korea, around 38,000 Indonesians work across different industrial sites.

“I have no doubt that Indonesia will continue to grow and become a major economic powerhouse in the ASEAN region under the leadership of President Joko Widodo and his administration’s efforts to revitalize the economy and implement regulatory reforms,” said Kim In-ho, CEO of the Korea International Trade Association, on April 4.

For Korean companies, Indonesia offers an attractive market with a quarter-billion people, Kim added, noting the country has a stable political and economic base spanning the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)
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