Until 19 March, a Belgian mission - led by Princess Astrid, accompanied by four ministers and 301 participants (including 127 company representatives) - visits Indonesia in an effort to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between both nations and boost foreign direct investment from Belgium into Indonesia. According to the Belgian Embassy, the ongoing mission in Indonesia is the fifth - and largest ever - economic mission conducted by Belgium in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Belgium is the fifth-largest investor from the European Union (EU).
According to data from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Belgium invested a combined total of USD $132 million between the years 2010-2015 (excluding the upstream oil & gas and financial sectors). Last year Belgian investment in Indonesia reached USD $2.68 million. BKPM Chairman Franky Sibarani therefore sees much room for improvement in the amount of investment from Belgium. In that context Sibarani is keen on promoting the lucrative potential of investing in Indonesia and emphasize the efforts of the Indonesian government to improve the ease of doing business in Indonesia (for example recent efforts to curtail the country's notoriously high logistics costs or the opening up of certain sectors for larger foreign ownership).
After the inaugural event of the Belgium-Indonesia technology partnership on Monday (14/03) in Jakarta, Sibarani told reporters that Belgium is interested to invest in Indonesia's renewable energy sector (particularly wind energy), the maritime sector (primarily the shipping industry and fishery) and the tourism sector (particularly the development of hotels in the country's key touristic areas). Reportedly, Belgian investors request support from the Indonesian government regarding the investment process (as some regulations remain unclear) as well as the obtaining of fiscal incentives. One of the key problems that blocks the realization of more investment from Belgium is Belgian investors' concern about legal certainty in Indonesia.
This economic mission includes 127 Belgium companies and authorities. They will sign 25 contracts and memorandum of understanding (MOUs) with their Indonesian counterparts.
Regarding trade, Belgium is the EU's sixth-largest exporter to Indonesia. The majority of Belgian export products (to Indonesia) consists of machinery, chemical products and animal products. This implies that Belgium is still a relatively small partner of Indonesia - not only in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) but also in terms of trade. In total, EU exports to Indonesia were worth 9.5 billion euros last year. Belgium only accounts for 4.8 percent of this total export figure.
Top 10 Largest Foreign Investors in Indonesia in 2015:
|British Virgin Islands||0.7||549|
Indonesia must confront Belgium's Princess Astrid during her visit, on why many Belgian ministers are actively campaigning against Indonesia's important export: palm oil, like Jacques Brotchi, Sabine de Bethune and Cindy Franssen?
Belgian companies, such as the supermarket chain Delhaize and the chocolate maker Galler, are labelling “no palm oil” on their products, in an attempt at negative marketing and denigrating small-farmers' fruits of labor.
Failing to address those will be the deal breaker for Belgium's trade mission and EU's CEPA negotiation.