President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s vision to make Indonesia the world’s maritime axis has prompted Germany, the world’s third-largest arms exporter, to strengthen the two countries’ bilateral partnership with maritime defense.
German Ambassador to Indonesia Georg Witschel said that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier would be visiting Indonesia on Nov. 2-3 to conduct bilateral talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.
“Germany has a lot to offer, indeed. Our shipyards, supply industries, ocean carriers and logistic companies are strong players, standing ready to get more actively involved in Indonesia,” he told reporters at the embassy on Thursday.
He said that Steinmeier would be accompanied not only by officials from his ministry, but also academics and 15 senior business representatives, from steel producer and automotive industry company ThyssenKrupp AG, shipyard firm Meyer Werft GmbH, Hamburg Port Authority, engineering firm Ferrostaal AG and European aerospace giant Airbus.
“During his visit, Steinmeier will also meet with businesspeople and Indonesian civil society. He will also meet with Jokowi,” he said.
During his visit, Steinmeier also plans to visit Tanjung Priok and Sunda Kelapa ports in North Jakarta. Sunda Kelapa was the historic port chosen by Jokowi and Vice President Jusuf Kalla as the venue to deliver their post-election victory speech on July 22. On a traditional phinisi boat of the Bugis community in Makassar, the duo delivered their maritime-axis vision again.
“By visiting Sunda Kelapa Port, he [Steinmeier] wants to gain first-hand knowledge of the maritime situation and archipelagic nature of Indonesia,” Witschel said.
He added that the maritime agenda and investments in port infrastructure would offer opportunities for increased economic relations in the countries’ diplomatic ties, which have lasted 62 years.
The value of Germany’s and Indonesia’s bilateral trade amounted to US$7.3 billion in 2013, up from $7.2 billion in 2012 and $6.6 billion in 2011, according to data provided by Indonesia’s Trade Ministry.
Germany is among Indonesia’s top-10 trade partners, with trade reaching a value of $4 billion from January to July this year.
Besides the maritime vision of the country’s new administration, Witschel emphasized the imminent implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year, saying it would offer further opportunities for investment in Indonesia.
“I am sure that the number of German companies engaged in Indonesia will increase significantly in the years to come,” said Germany’s former envoy to Ottawa, Canada.
Witschel said Steinmeier’s upcoming visit to Indonesia would be his second, having visited Jakarta in 2008, when he met with former foreign minister Nur Hassan Wirajuda and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Along with Yudhoyono, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made an “Indonesia-Germany Joint Declaration for a Comprehensive Partnership: Shaping Globalization and Sharing Responsibility” during her visit to Jakarta in 2012.
The declaration aimed to widen the scope of German-Indonesian relations to the fields of political and security cooperation; trade; investment and development; education and culture; science and technology; the environment; climate change; forestry and renewable energy.
Witschel said that next year, the German and Indonesian governments would continue their negotiations, as the German government had committed to pouring ¤570 million into development in Indonesia in three prioritized areas, namely energy and climate change; sustainable economic development and good governance and global networks.
“He [Steinmeier] will share Germany’s experience in the European Union [during his meeting with Minh]. He will also discuss regional issues, such as the South China Sea disputes,” he added. (alz/dyl, The Jakarta Post)