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Singapore, Indonesia reaffirm vow to strengthen ties to defeat pandemic

The ministers of the two countries discussed areas for economic cooperation.

Singapore and Indonesia reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral relations to overcome the pandemic during the 11th Singapore-Indonesia Six Bilateral Economic Working Groups (6WG) Ministerial Meeting on 14 July.

Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong co-chaired with Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga, the Ministry of Trade and Singapore (MTI) said in a 14 July release.

The meeting tackled six key areas for Singapore-Indonesia economic cooperation which are the Batam-Bintan-Karimun and other special economic zones, investment, manpower, transport, agribusiness, and tourism.

“At the meeting, the Ministers recognised the continued economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral ties in order to overcome the pandemic together,” the MTI said.

The ministers also acknowledged the importance of “deepening cooperation” in emerging areas such as “digital economy, technology and innovation, and sustainability.”

“They committed to redoubling efforts to strengthen cooperation in these areas to allow Singapore and Indonesia to seize opportunities in the rapidly evolving world. These include the development of smart and sustainable townships and smart technologies to improve existing manufacturing solutions,” it said.

The chairpersons also tackled key achievements and initiatives under the 6WG including the official designation of the Nongsa Digital Park as a Special Economic Zone, the ongoing developments in the Kendal Industrial Park, which will provide a platform for Singapore and Indonesia business to strengthen networks and identify opportunities for collaboration.

They also welcomed the entry-into-force of the Singapore-Indonesia Bilateral Investment Treaty which took effect on 9 March 2021 and anticipates the timely entry-into-force on the Singapore-Indonesia Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement. MTI said these agreements “provide investors in both countries with more certainty and promote greater investment flows.”

Indonesia was Singapore’s seventh-largest trading partner in 2020 with bilateral trades reaching S$48.8b in 2020. Singapore was Indonesia’s third-largest trading partner in 2018.

Indonesia’s top investor since 2014 has been Singapore with investments in various sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, and energy.

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