| Hakim Hayat |
THERE is still vast potential in trade opportunities that remain untapped between Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia, despite the excellent relations both countries have forged politically, socially and culturally, an Indonesian diplomat said yesterday.
Speaking on the sidelines of yesterday’s business networking session between invited Indonesian and Bruneian entrepreneurs in commemorating 30 years of diplomatic relations between both countries, Minister Counsellor at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam Rudhito Widagdo urged both countries to concertedly work together in pushing for a balance of trade to offset the large gap in trade deficit.
Rudhito said Brunei benefits more due to the fact that Indonesia imports crude oil from Brunei, which accounts for almost 85 per cent of trade relations between both countries. With a current trade deficit of approximately US$600 million, he said, “We need to work harder to push for a balance of trade to offset the deficit,” he added.
In order to have a sustainable trade relationship, “concrete action” has to be taken between both sides, by “thinking outside the box” and “not treating what we have now as business as usual,” he pointed out.
“We have to strive to explore potential, prospects, possibilities, chances and opportunity and grab it quickly… because Brunei and Indonesia are neighbouring countries that are close to each other and share many cultural and social similarities. It is a shame that until today, a lot of Indonesians still don’t understand or have knowledge of the Brunei market and vice-versa. This is why we are here – coming into action to help,” he said.
The third such event of its kind held at the Indonesian Embassy – Diplomatic Enclave in Jalan Kebangsaan, the event saw over 100 Indonesian entrepreneurs, many from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), meeting with over 70 prominent business figures in Brunei – comprising SMEs, corporations and members of the Brunei-Indonesia Friendship Association.
Rudhito explained the main reason for inviting SMEs is because they would like to see these businesses flourish, tap into opportunities available and to grow.
At the event, invited Bruneians listened to briefings on the economic conditions of Indonesia, which was then followed by a business matching session.
“We hope from this event there will be more networking, hence trade transactions and investment coming from both sides,” he added.
He also said the embassy has arranged for a number of trade missions from Brunei Darussalam to Indonesia to learn of the vast opportunities available.
He later expressed hopes such event will continue along with action and concrete steps to leverage on existing relations between both countries.