September, 19, 2023
In a recent meeting that could potentially reshape Sri Lanka’s economic landscape, COYLE held talks with H.E. Dewi Gustina Tobing, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Indonesia. During the lengthy discussions, a number of significant points were raised and concerns addressed.
The Ambassador highlighted that Indonesia has demonstrated its commitment to fostering economic partnerships, not only within its borders but also on a global scale. Sri Lanka stands to gain from this openness, with opportunities for mutual benefit. The prospect of identifying and leveraging outbound investments was emphasized, potentially leading to increased economic activity between the two nations.
A key concern raised during the meeting was the process for Sri Lankans to secure work visas in Indonesia when Sri Lankan companies expand their operations there. Despite some confusion in recent history, it was clarified that, with proper validation of these operations and an established capacity in Sri Lanka, assistance in obtaining work visas with work permits will be provided. This clarification could facilitate smoother cross-border business ventures. The discussions surrounding visas underscored the importance of facilitating travel between the two countries. While certain visa types have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both nations are actively seeking ways to enhance this aspect of their relationship.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson Sri Lanka can take from Indonesia is its ability to maintain a robust tourism industry even during times of crisis. Indonesia’s consistent success in retaining a massive influx of inbound tourists, even in the face of adversity, underscores the importance of separating internal political struggles from managing external crises. Sri Lanka could benefit greatly from adopting a similar approach to safeguard its attractiveness to tourists.
In addition to these focal points, the meeting also highlighted the thriving collaboration between Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Both nations expressed keenness to explore avenues for increased trade, particularly in industries like batik production. Notably, the trade volume between the two countries has seen a remarkable 6% increase in recent years, growing from 49 million to 475 million in 2021.
It was revealed that Indonesia’s diverse economy, supported by sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, and services, presents numerous opportunities for partnership. Trade, tourism, and the exploration of new avenues for cooperation are central to the objectives of strengthening the relationship between Sri Lanka and Indonesia, encompassing both economic and cultural aspects.
It is worth noting that despite the significant Muslim population in Indonesia, there is also a flourishing Buddhist community, showcasing the nation’s religious diversity. Indonesia’s substantial share of the global economy, at 45%, further solidifies its status as an economic powerhouse that values and supports its entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, when a question on how Sri Lanka and Indonesia could work together for mutual economic benefit was raised, it was revealed that the pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical products sector was ripe for collaboration.
The meeting between COYLE and Ambassador Dewi Gustina Tobing served as a promising step towards greater economic cooperation between Sri Lanka and Indonesia. Despite any perceived complexities, the potential benefits of partnership between the two countries are substantial, with the prospect of mutual growth and shared prosperity.
Image Caption : Left to Right,