The Jakarta Post
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has encouraged Vietnam to increase its imports of Indonesian seafood and has invited the country to invest in several Indonesian fisheries, including Natuna where foreign poachers often operate.
Retno was in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday for a short stopover before joining the ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting on Thursday in the coastal city of Nha Trang.
Retno met Nguyen Thi Thu Sac, general director of Hai Nam Company Limited, a fish company based in Ho Chi Minh City, on Wednesday.
Last year, the company imported about US$2.5 million of seafood from Indonesia. The company exports seafood to the United States, Japan, Europe and Taiwan.
"In addition to increasing imports of Indonesian fisheries products, Indonesia also hopes Hai Nam Co. Ltd. can invest in a joint venture with an Indonesian company to build a fish processing factory in Indonesia,” Retno said on Thursday.
Retno also invited company executives to visit Indonesia to see the potential of fisheries in several regions including in Natuna, where illegal fishing by Chinese and Vietnamese vessels has been rampant.
According to Retno, Jakarta will continue to encourage Vietnamese investment in Indonesia and will support Indonesia's outbound investment in Vietnam.
In Ho Chi Minh City, Retno also met with Traveloka Vietnam country market manager Huynh May Thy. Traveloka is an Indonesian airline ticketing and hotel booking unicorn that has expanded its business to Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.
In the meeting, Retno said she would continue to encourage the opening of direct flights by Indonesian airlines to connect the two countries after Vietnamese companies launched nonstop flights to Indonesia last year.
"I have and will continue to communicate with the Vietnamese foreign minister to facilitate the issuance of permits to open direct routes for Indonesian airlines," Retno said.
Last year, two Vietnamese airlines – national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and low-cost carrier Vietjet Air – began operating direct flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Bali, according to previous reports.
Indonesia helped facilitate the two direct flights, which according to the Foreign Ministry have contributed to the 20 percent increase in Indonesian tourists traveling to Vietnam and the 21 percent increase in Vietnamese tourists traveling to Indonesia.
Traveloka, according to Retno’s office, said the limited choice of direct flights made airfares expensive. But the company appeared optimistic about Retno’s push, saying that direct flights by Indonesian airlines would improve air connectivity and the flow of tourists. (dis)