Despite ups and downs, the trade and economic relations between Indonesia and the Netherlands are moving in a favourable direction. Dutch investment is among the top ten foreign investors in Indonesia and the ties have been strengthened further by the visits of both countries’ head of nations and leaders last year.
Although the interaction is generally positive, challenges and obstacles are inevitable when it comes to setting up businesses in foreign countries.
“I think most of the challenges that we are facing in Indonesia is related to bureaucracy and corruption,” said Peter Halm, Executive Director of INA, Indonesian Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) Chamber of Commerce Indonesia. “The process of establishing new business or investment here can take a very long time and costs lots of money, and it is a big issue especially for small to medium enterprises. If this problem isn’t addressed carefully, Indonesia is at risk to lose competitive bets with other Asian countries. People would choose to put their money somewhere else where they are promised a friendlier business climate.”
According to Halm, who has been living and working in Indonesia for more than two decades, the new government is showing improvements in that area, but there is still a lot to work on when it comes to the local administration. However, aside from this challenge, business cooperation between the two countries is very strong.
“The partnership between Indonesia and the Netherlands is moving to the next level,” Halm continued. “We are very strong in maritime, water management, agriculture and renewal energy, and are still looking forward to new collaborations in the future.”
The visit of PM Mark Rutte last November that resulted in many business agreements also suggests a promising future for business unions between the countries.
“The MoUs are certainly a good starting point for us but we still have a lot of homework to do to make sure that all the business plans are moving in the right direction,” Halm explained.
There are approximately 400 Benelux associated companies in Indonesia which over 200 of them are Dutch, and INA’s role is very significant to facilitate these companies to strengthen their business connections in Indonesia.
“INA’s services are very varied, from mediating between companies and the Indonesian government, informing them about recent regulations, helping new investors to establish their business to providing professional legal assistance. We are working very closely with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) to make sure the companies connect with the right counterparts in Indonesia.”
As the bridge of communication, INA regularly hosts various events ranging from joint gatherings to sharing sessions, whereas its e-newsletter keeps members well-informed of what is going on in Indonesia’s business environment.
For more information, visit INA’s website www.ina.or.id
Indonesia Netherlands Association (INA)
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