Currently, there are more than 150 Swiss companies operating in Indonesia that have created at least 23 000 jobs. In order to further promote trade and investment relations, the Swiss Business Hub Indonesia (SBH), which represent Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) abroad, was officially inaugurated in July.
The Swiss Business Hub Indonesia, led by Wolfgang Schanzenbach together with Senior Trade Officer Cynthia Kemalawati, aims to help companies and investors from Switzerland to gain access to Indonesia’s large and dynamic market, as well as attract more Indonesian investment in Switzerland.
“If you look at the bilateral trade volume between Indonesia and Switzerland, it is increasing from a statistical point of view,” Schanzenbach explained. “However, it is very much dominated by precious metals and jewelry. We are here to boost the trade with focus on machinery, equipment, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food or luxury and lifestyle products.”
Indonesia as a single market and being part of ASEAN enjoys a top priority of the Federal Council, whose intention is to further enhance its foreign trade policy across the region.
“They are also trying to conclude free trade agreements,” Schanzenbach said. “With Indonesia, we have had 12 rounds of negotiations of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) together with EFTA (European Free Trade Association), which consists of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Once a free trade agreement is signed and in place, we are confident that this will trigger additional interest for the market and sooner or later increase the bilateral trade.”
The Swiss Business Hub especially aims to attract Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is achieved e.g. through legal support, market intelligence, as well as the identification of potential partners and tailor-made fact finding missions.
The SBH has selected a few key sectors to tackle first, including Medical Technology, ICT (Information and Communication Technology), Food Processing Technology and Consumer Goods.
At the same time, the SBH provides advice to Indonesian companies embarking on an internationalization strategy.
“There is a sleeping potential, hence we lay the groundwork, create awareness and selectively approach identified targets which consist of a certain size, have the necessary financial strength and management vision to go abroad,” Schanzenbach added. “Ideally, they are already enjoying international business in some parts of Asia or Europe, and we then approach them and explain why Switzerland is an attractive FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) destination.”
“When it comes to classic Research and Development e.g. for Life Sciences, we have world class industry clusters with excellent infrastructure,” Schanzenbach said.
Located in the centre of Europe and equipped with bilateral agreements grants access to 380 million consumers, Switzerland is an ideal gateway into the European market.