10 Dec 2013
Prime Minister Mark Rutte, accompanied by Minister Lilianne Ploumen and Minister Sharon Dijksma, headed the mission that took place from 19-22 November 2013 and was organized by VNO-NCW. From the sectors of Agrifood, Water, Health & Life sciences, and Infrastructure & Logistics, one hundred companies joined the business delegation.
After the welcoming by Mr. Jesse Kuijper, chairman of Indonesia Nederland Society, and opening remarks by Dr. Bernard Bot, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the INS Autumn seminar 2013 in the Van Kleffens room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with approximately 90 participants, has fully started.
Reflecting on the Trade Mission
Just arrived from a Dutch trade mission to Israel/Palestine, VNO-NCW President Bernard Wientjes provides a keynote speech on the follow up and new perspectives of the former Dutch Trade mission to Indonesia. From his detailed report here follow some observations.
As the organizer of the trade mission to Indonesia Mr. Wientjes, reflecting on those days in November at Jakarta, gives a positive overview. The VNO-NCW president much appreciated the most friendly atmosphere and reception of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the Dutch Trade mission by President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono and the Indonesian counterparts. The signing of the bilateral comprehensive partnership agreement by President Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Rutte was a milestone moment in de bilateral relations between Nederland and Indonesia. But what Mr. Wientjes struck during several of the many conversations he had, was the question: Why so late? Germany, the UK, Norway came before you’. On the other hand Mr. Wientjes concluded that in Indonesia there is a high demand for services and goods of which the Dutch are experts in. But, getting business orders will not be easy. In this respect, countries like China, India, Korea and Japan are also active.
Anyhow, there are opportunities and challenges for the Netherlands in the fields of water management, agrifood, health and infrastructure: the high quality of Dutch products and works is an asset. Mr. Wientjes sees Dutch branding in the newly operating consortia. Consortia could provide tailored works and products of high quality. This applies particularly to the Garuda shaped master plan to both making Jakarta flood proof and to creating a challenging perspective for the development of the city including the housing of 4,5 million people.
The bilateral comprehensive partnership has laid a firm base for future cooperation. Dutch companies entering the Indonesian business world have a long way to go. An important condition for success is the building of strong relations and friendships across the two countries. Here is also a role to play for the Indonesia Nederland Society. Further, the provision of a revolving fund by the Dutch Government starting in 2014 will be a positive instrument to small and middle-large companies.
Netherlands Water Platform (NWP)
To give the audience an impression of the Garuda shaped master plan for Jakarta, the Netherlands Water Platform (NWP) provides a YouTube film of how the Netherlands and Indonesia are working together on the implementation of water safety for Greater Jakarta. The Garuda shaped master plan derives its knowledge and experience from the on-going National Capital Integrated Coastal Development programme.
Another trade sector is food availability. Food availability is one of the most serious challenges that Governments across the world are facing. Mr. Ate Oostra, chairman of Metropolitan Food Security (Dutch chapter) explains that large population bases further aggravate the problem. In an era of climate change, high costs, difficulty in availability of raw materials, energy, water and arable land, the world needs sustainable food practices. The Dutch have knowledge of and experience in food availability for metropolitans and large cities. This is also relevant to Indonesia with its growing large cities and metropolis. Dutch companies in agrifood now cooperate in new consortia.
Infrastructure and health
What applies to the sectors of water and agrifood, counts as well to the sectors of infrastructure and health. In the view of Mr. Age Jonker (ConsultFinance) building long term relationships with Indonesian clients is most important: “In the Netherlands, we have to realise that Indonesians think in friendship, where we are inclined to think in guarantees. In Indonesia I can say: “ik heb het voor elkaar (literally)”. Here in the Netherlands the phrase is: “the contract has not been signed yet”.
That is also why Mr. Tik Tan, chairman of Indonesia Diaspora Global Network Health (DGNH) believes that the medical specialists of the Indonesia Diaspora network are the ideal go-betweens to Dutch companies and institutes who strife to strengthen the Indonesian Health sector, just because “they are at home in both the Netherlands and Indonesia”.