Scottish Chambers Heralds New Phase in Trade Ties with Southeast Asian Giant

30th April 2018

Business and trade relations between Scotland and Indonesia, one of Asia’s largest and fastest-growing nations have taken a significant leap forward following a “B2B agreement” between SCC and BritCham Indonesia. The deal was signed in Edinburgh last Wednesday by BritCham Indonesia Executive Director Chris Wren, and Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

The signing, conducted in the presence of the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency Dr Rizal Sukma, and Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs & Fair Work, commits both parties to share information and pool resources with the joint purpose of improving Scotland’s trading activities in the world’s fourth most populous nation.

As well as the high-level agreement, the event to promote ties with the vast Southeast Asian nation also saw the signing of a milestone agreement between high-growth Scots space and technology services company Astrosat, with Indonesian conservationists Global Alam Lestari (PT GAL) and Forest Carbon. The agreement will see Astrosat’s powerful Earth observation satellites being used to provide enhanced landscape monitoring of more than 22,000 hectares of rainforest in Sumatra’s Merang biodiversity corridor.

Scottish companies currently comprise only a small fraction of total UK investment in Indonesia, which is slated by consultants McKinsey to become the 7th biggest economy in the world by 2030, and the fourth largest 2050 according to PwC. A tropical archipelago stretching over 3000 miles, comprising 17,000 islands with a population of 256 million, Indonesia presents a “major opportunity” for Scottish businesses and educational institutions according to SCC President Tim Allan.

“The country is too large for Scotland to ignore” Mr Allan said: “this new agreement is a step towards changing the currently underdeveloped state of our business relations with this exciting market.”

“The experience of our successful and recently completed Trade Mission to China is that business flourishes when businesses spend time together. Although government and its agencies can create the circumstances, only business can do the deals, and the purpose of today’s agreement is to strengthen this B2B ties between us.”

SCC’s intention to boost trade between Scotland and Indonesia was endorsed by the country’s Ambassador to the UK Dr Rizal Sukma, who talked of the country’s aim to increase exports to the UK, while encouraging more foreign direct investment into the country, citing areas such as marine industries and food technology where Scottish expertise “could have a positive impact”.

His support was also echoed by Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown MSP, who held a private meeting with Ambassador Rizal Sukma following the signing. Mr Brown pledged that the Scottish Government would increase its engagement with Indonesia and announced that its overseas trade and inward investment agency SDI was boosting its presence in Indonesia by deploying a representative in Jakarta.

Mr Brown said: “It was a privilege to meet with Ambassador Rizal Sukma alongside British Chambers Indonesia members and Scottish Chambers of Commerce today. This is an important new agreement which will benefit Scottish businesses wishing to expand into Indonesia. Businesses such as the Musselburgh-based satellite technology company Astrosat will have access to additional support as they expand their services into South Sumatra to support Indonesia’s ecological ambitions.”

Steve Lee, CEO of Astrosat said: “Today’s signing marks the start of a longer-term partnership, based on world-leading technology built in Musselburgh but applied on the other side of the world to help sustain Indonesia’s drive to conserve an unspoilt natural wilderness. It’s an exciting example of the benefits of better commercial and knowledge-sharing links between our two countries.”

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