Rise in bilateral trade between Indonesia and Brunei

Azlan Othman

There has been an increase in Brunei Darussalam exports to Indonesia amounting to USD27,793,800 in the first 11 months of last year (January to November 2019) compared to USD20,097,300 for the same period in 2018.

Exports from Indonesia to Brunei have also increased to USD117,570,800 from January to November 2019 compared to USD61,194,000 for the same period in 2018, figures from Indonesia Trade revealed.

Meanwhile Indonesia’s PT Biogene Plantation is involved in the choice of hybrid rice ‘Sembada 188’ at 200-hectare site in Wasan and 500-hectare site in Kandol in the Belait District. About 20 tonnes of seeds and agriculture related products like machinery have been exported to the Sultanate.

This was highlighted by Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko in an interview with the Weekend Bulletin.

The Sembada 188 variety was chosen by the Brunei Government because it has the highest score based on planting criteria, productivity level, compatibility with local land, and the taste and texture of rice produced.

Dr Sujatmiko also said direct shipping can boost trade between both countries.

Statistics show that Brunei imports less from Indonesia than from other countries like Malaysia and Singapore, he said adding that the lack of a direct shipping line from Indonesia to Brunei is said to be one of the reasons.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

“Most goods from Indonesia to Brunei are shipped through Singapore and Malaysia because there is no direct shipping from Indonesia,” he said. To boost trade with Brunei and hopefully increase Indonesia’s exports to Brunei, the Indonesian Embassy in Brunei Darussalam announced that from February 14, there would be a direct shipping service available from Jakarta to Brunei.

“If we could cut the shipping duration, our trade volume with Brunei could increase by 220 containers per month,” the ambassador added.

Speaking on tourism cooperation, Dr Sujatmiko said the number of tourists from Brunei to Indonesia is small, around 18,000 visitors and is not rising compared to the Indonesian visitors visiting Brunei which is on the rise.

“With its strong currency, Bruneians’ buying capacity is strong. Bruneians tend to go to Singapore, Malaysia or the UK for the school holiday like in December. We want to lure more Bruneians to travel to Indonesia.”

During the meeting between the Vice Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia Angela Tanoesodibjo with her Brunei counterparts at the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) which the Sultanate played host recently, it was discussed to develop human resource and ecotourism in the Sultanate.

Angela also explained Indonesia’s tourism super-priority programmes – Lake Toba, Likupang, Borobudur, Mandalika and Labuan Bajo. “Regarding the five super priority destinations, we will also make tour packages to the super priority destination which will be supported by the ease of interconnectivity through adequate infrastructure and transportation,” she said recently.

Dr Sujatmiko also said talks are in the pipeline in Indonesia to introduce air routes from Lombok, Balikpapan and Pontianak to Bandar Seri Begawan. Currently Royal Brunei Airlines serves Jakarta, Surabaya and the Bali route.