Vietnam-Indonesia Relations to Grow Strongly Across All Fields
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Labuan Bajo. Photo: VNA|
According to former Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi, after 10 years of establishment (June 27, 2013-June 27, 2023), the Vietnam-Indonesia strategic partnership is consolidated and strengthened in many fields, including economy, trade, investment and connectivity.
Ibnu Hadi believes that the Vietnam-Indonesia strategic partnership is mainly for the benefit and prosperity of the two peoples. Therefore, economics, specifically trade and investment, is the main focus of this relationship.
Regarding trade, Ibnu said that total two-way trade grew from about US$5 billion to US$9 billion during his five-year term (2016-2020), and reached more than US$14 billion by 2022. Therefore, trade exchange between the two countries has been progressing well and impressively.
According to Ibnu, this comes from the fact that Vietnam's economy has been growing at a fast pace, while Indonesia has also grown steadily.
Regarding investment, capital flow from Indonesia to Vietnam and vice versa is quite good, with US$670 million by 2022, of which Indonesian investment capital accounts for US$620 million.
However, the amount of investment capital from Indonesia into Vietnam is still quite modest, while there are still not many investment projects from Vietnam to Indonesia.
To some extent, Ibnu said, this makes sense, because basically, Vietnam's policy is to attract foreign direct investment. However, in the future, Vietnam and Indonesia may have more investment projects from both sides.
Connectivity, an important factor to promote economic, trade cooperation, investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, has made good progress so far. There are already a number of direct flights between the two countries, for example from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Bali, as well as between Jakarta and Ho Chi Minh City.
However, according to Ibnu, the two countries need to strengthen connectivity more to facilitate trade.
Ibnu expressed his wish that, in addition to opening new routes such as between Da Nang and Bali, a direct flight connecting the Indonesian capital Jakarta and the Vietnamese capital Hanoi will soon become a reality.
Regarding the direction of cooperation, Ibnu said that the two countries can consider focusing on cooperation in fisheries and aquaculture, which has great potential, especially after the two countries signed an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) agreement last December.
The former Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam said that digital transformation is also a potential area of cooperation between Indonesia and Vietnam, in the context that everything is being digitized.
Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the government is also prioritizing digital transformation in all areas.
Ibnu said that the two countries can also promote cooperation on infrastructure such as construction of seaports, roads and railways.
|Producing textiles for export. Photo: VNA|
Assessing Vietnam's role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Ibnu said that Vietnam becomes a much more developed country than before, with a lot of potential in terms of economy, trade, and investment. Therefore, Vietnam's role in ASEAN will certainly increase a lot, and is expected to play a more important role in building ASEAN.
Ibnu believes that Vietnam is aware of its role. In particular, Vietnam can "make a bridge for ASEAN to be more united and connected" thanks to its good relationship with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
According to Ibnu, in fact, Vietnam played an active role not only within but also outside the ASEAN region. This role has been clearly demonstrated by Vietnam, especially when it holds the ASEAN Chair in 2020, a year with many challenges due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ibnu emphasized that, as active members of ASEAN, cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia is important to the peace and prosperity of the whole bloc. Through bilateral relations, Vietnam and Indonesia also contribute a lot to ASEAN.
Regarding the South China Sea issue, he said that the successful conclusion of the negotiation process of delimiting the maritime border between the two countries contributed a lot to the region. This agreement will positively impact the ongoing negotiations among other countries in the region.
Finally, Ibnu said, during his five-year tenure, he witnessed the remarkable development of Vietnam.
“During that period, I can see the world paying more attention to Vietnam, because Vietnam becomes more attractive in terms of economy, investment, trade, as well as political influence and strategic role," he said.
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