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Jakarta Post

Bright future seen for Indonesian-Danish relations

  • Yohanna Ririhena

    The Jakarta Post

Copenhagen   /   Fri, October 9, 2015   /  09:21 am

After focusing on China and South Korea, Denmark is gearing up to enhance its alliance with Indonesia, hoping that Southeast Asia'€™s powerhouse will help it build strong ties with the whole region.

'€œIndonesia is a key player in Asia right now, in your capacity and in ASEAN. Denmark wants to have a stronger alliance and [build] a strong bridge to the whole of Southeast Asia,'€ Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen told visiting Indonesian journalists at the Foreign Ministry in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Indonesian-Danish cooperation is believed to harbor a lot more potential. Denmark'€™s commitment to boost ties with Indonesia after 65 years of diplomatic relations will be marked by the state visit of Queen Margrethe II from Oct. 21 to 24.

The two countries plan to sign a partnership declaration and six memorandums of understanding (MOU) in different areas of cooperation.

'€œThe main reason to visit Indonesia is to strengthen cooperation. We have longstanding relations, covering trade, development, culture, politics, business and non-governmental organization interaction. We both have everything to win in realizing the huge potential in our ties,'€ he said.

The country'€™s robust economic growth and booming middle class make Indonesia an interesting country for Danish businesses. '€œThese are stepping stones for the alliance of two countries.'€

The royals are expected to visit three cities, Jakarta, Surabaya and Yogyakarta and dedicate their time to strengthening Indonesian-Danish relations in the area of culture and trade. They will head a Danish business delegation of around 60 companies, mainly representing the following four sectors: Maritime (shipping, ports, ship building, maritime technologies and services, fisheries and homeland security), urban and clean tech solutions (clean energy, renewables, energy efficiency, water and waste management, architecture and construction), agribusiness (food processing, agricultural machinery, food security and safety, aqua tech, aquaculture, food and beverages) and design and lifestyle (furniture, interior design, fashion, jewelry and childhood education).

Denmark sees a lot of potential in Indonesia as the country experienced a decade of socioeconomic progress that has elevated millions into the middle class.

Despite Indonesia'€™s growth in size and importance, Denmark has not yet fully explored this market. Indonesia is only the 60th-largest export country for Denmark. This ranking is partly due to regulatory complexities, red tape and a protectionist political agenda. However, even with market access challenges, Indonesia is considered to have great potential.

'€œThe potential overshadows the complexity '€” therefore we have to be present in the Indonesian market,'€ said a representative of a large Danish company in the region.

Aside from business links, the two countries will also strengthen interfaith dialogue. During the visit, Jensen will participate in a roundtable discussion on inter-faith dialogue as well as the challenges posed by radicalization and terrorism with prominent Indonesian stakeholders: director of State Islamic University (UIN) Graduate School Prof. Azyumardi Azra, the leader of the Wahid Center, Yenni Wahid and the chairmen of the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah Muslim organizations.

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