Greater Manchester Chamber was happy to host the Ambassador and Embassy of Indonesia, and their partners the Central Bank of Indonesia and the Indonesia Investment Promotion Centre, for a panel chaired by Paul Stowers, Head of DIT Northwest, and opened by Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Indonesia is placed as the largest economy in ASEAN, but for those doing business in the country there are still a few aspects of the market which need de-mystifying so that UK businesses can seize the opportunities on offer.
The discussion on Thursday flagged up several hot topics that businesses wanted to talk about in relation to doing business in the market. The question of language and translation was brought to the floor, particularly when and where it is appropriate to use local language in a business setting. Our panel assured the companies present in the room that Indonesia’s language of business is usually English, but for marketing consumer goods there is certainly a good argument for investing in translation services.
As one of the key business news stories of the past few years Brexit could not be ignored. Businesses wanted to know if after the UK leaves the EU the possibility of UK-Indonesia preferential trade agreements were still on the table. This was particularly key for companies that already had a vested interest in the region after exporting there for several years. The consensus from the panel was that Indonesia is looking toward the future and aims to continue a positive trade relationship with the UK as the Indonesian government continues to pursue an open market. The overall take away was not to worry and that the discussions on Brexit would be relayed to the Indonesian Trade Minister.
The practicalities of finding suppliers you can trust, product regulations and certifications as well as how to connect with tender opportunities were also raised at the meeting.
The Indonesian Ambassador was keen to stress the importance of Manchester on a global playing field, mentioning one sport in particular.
Susana Cordoba, Head of International Trade, said: "It is fantastic to see the relationship between Indonesia and Manchester, notably the global connection football has provided between the two countries – approximately 63 million fans of Manchester football clubs live in Indonesia, which is more or less the same size as the UK’s population!
"This alone is indicative of the size and scope of the Indonesian market, but also the opportunity for cross collaboration of other sectors off the back of Football’s success. Aviation, infrastructure, services and retail all have their opportunity to succeed in the Indonesian market too."
The event was concluded by an opportunity for UK companies to network with the Embassy and gain key contact details and connections in the Indonesian Market.
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