Indonesia looks to strengthen trade with Taiwan at virtual expo

10/21/2021 07:11 PM
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo opens the 36th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2021. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
Indonesian President Joko Widodo opens the 36th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2021. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021

Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Indonesia's representative office in Taipei was looking to strengthen bilateral trade with Taiwan by inviting local businesses to attend the online opening ceremony of the country's largest annual trade event on Thursday.

The 36th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2021, which will be held virtually until Dec. 20, seeks to foster business networks and showcase Indonesian products, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said in an online speech at the ceremony, which was held at the Indonesia Exhibition Center Hall in Taipei.

"We are grateful that the pandemic situation is [now] under control in Indonesia, that's why it is very important that Indonesia's global trade needs to be revived. We are open to all cooperation, trade and investment with our trading partners that enhances our human capacity," he said.

The TEI, considered the biggest annual international business exhibition in Indonesia, is being held online for the second consecutive year to accommodate the coronavirus situation. Business people around the world, including Taiwan, can register to attend the event virtually.

Representative Budi Santoso of the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) to Taipei said that prior to the pandemic importers from all across the globe attended the event in person in Jakarta.

Concerned about the reluctance of importers to participate in a virtual exhibition because of the challenges posed by language differences, IETO also offers personalized services to help Taiwanese buyers navigate products and match with business partners in Indonesia.

"In response, IETO Taipei, Indonesia's representative in Taipei, is trying to present a Mini TEI where all of you will be personally accompanied by our staff to explore Indonesian products virtually and when necessary will help you communicate with exporters in Indonesia," Budi said.

Taiwanese importers and Indonesian officials. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
Taiwanese importers and Indonesian officials. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
CNA photo Oct. 21, 2020
CNA photo Oct. 21, 2020

Adding to the warm and hospitable environment, Taiwanese buyers were treated to a range of authentic Indonesian food, including satay skewers and gado-gado salad.

Meanwhile, Kevin Lin (林宜良), vice president of ELOM Trade Co., Ltd, which trades under ASEAN VIP International Trading Co. Ltd., received the prestigious Primaduta award, which is presented by the Indonesian government to foreign companies that import Indonesian products.

Lin's company, which imports daily necessities, such as groceries and food, was one of 25 importers selected out of 330 nominated by Indonesian trade offices around the world. It is the first Taiwanese company to win the award.

IETO Representative Budi Santoso (right) and ELOM Trade Co., Ltd. Vice President Kevin Lin. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
IETO Representative Budi Santoso (right) and ELOM Trade Co., Ltd. Vice President Kevin Lin. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021

The company imported US$7.745 million of Indonesian goods into Taiwan last year and has helped small and medium enterprises in Indonesia with packaging design so that their products are more competitive on the international market, IETO trade analyst Muhammad Fuad Hamzah told CNA.

"The award is not just based on numbers or the volume of trade, it also takes into account the human-interest story of companies and their contribution to Indonesian small and medium enterprises," Fuad said.

Lin said the company has imported goods from Southeast Asia for about 30 years, originally driven by the idea of sourcing daily necessities and items used by Taiwan's many migrant workers.

"Many Indonesian small and medium enterprises also want to expand into overseas markets, but might not have the connections to help them, when actually their products are of good quality," Lin said.

Indonesia is Taiwan's 14th largest trading partner with over US$5.39 billion in imports from Taiwan and US$2.17 billion in exports from January to September, according to data from Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade.

(By William Yen)

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A Taiwanese importer receives assistance from an IETO staff member while viewing the 36th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2021 website. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
A Taiwanese importer receives assistance from an IETO staff member while viewing the 36th Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2021 website. CNA photo Oct. 21, 2021
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