The Jakarta Post
Indonesia’s trade with all the major global players has been in decline this year due to the severe economic slowdown in Europe and the US. But Sweden’s trade with Indonesia has grown by 58.33 percent in the first eight months of this year.
Trade between Indonesia and Sweden, the land of innovations, entrepreneurship and sustainable development, surged to US$1.09 billion in the first eight months of 2012, a huge jump from the $689.51 million during the same period in 2011. The total two-way trade was $1.05 billion in 2011.
In an effort to put both countries’ relations on a high trajectory and to further explore the potential for innovation, entrepreneurship, trade and investment and broad cooperation in key areas , Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt will be visiting Indonesia on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“It will be a historic visit. For the first time, a Swedish prime minister will be visiting Indonesia. Our prime minister will be bringing his Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling and a 50-member delegation representing Sweden’s top 33 companies to Jakarta,” Swedish Ambassador to Indonesia Ewa Polano told The Jakarta Post on Sunday evening.
But why Indonesia?
“Our prime minister is very much impressed by the progress made by democratic Indonesia in political, economic and environmental issues,” Ambassador Polano said.
During his two-day working visit, according to Polano, Reinfeldt will meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and discuss political and economic issues as well as bilateral, regional and international issues.
“On Wednesday, our prime minister will deliver a keynote speech at the Roundtable Power Talk, a forum which will be attended by Swedish and Indonesian businesspeople,” Ewa said, adding that Vice President Boediono might also address the seminar.
According to Polano, Reinfeldt is scheduled to meet several Cabinet ministers, Jakarta’s popular new Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, the leaders of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and top executives of Indonesian companies.
Sweden is keen on investing in Indonesia, and ready to offer its expertise in areas like research and development, health, education, climate change, science and technology, clean energy, water, transportation and several other areas.
According to the Swedish Trade Council, there are about 44 Swedish companies, including the big ones like Volvo, Ericsson, Oriflame, ABB, H&M, Electrolux, SKF and Tetra Pak, operating in Indonesia.
“Sweden’s biggest retail conglomerate IKEA is coming to Indonesia soon. Many more Swedish companies want to come to Indonesia. Prospects are very bright,” Polano said.
The visit will also lay the ground for President Yudhoyono’s visit to Sweden in 2013.