The Hanoitimes - "Vietnam is Indonesia’s only strategic partner in ASEAN”, said Ibnu Hadi, Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam over the visit of President Joko Widodo to Vietnam (September 11-12).
Fruitful results of the president’s visit
According to Ambassador Ibnu Hadi, this is the first state visit of the two nations' leaders to each other during the past five years. The last one was in 2013 when Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang visited Indonesia and Vietnam, Indonesia agreed to level up bilateral relationship to strategic partnership. President Widodo's recent state visit was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations, especially in areas of economy and maritime.
During the state visit, both leaders witnessed the signing of Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2019 – 2023 by Indonesian and Vietnamese foreign ministers which will be a guidance in implementing and strengthening strategic partnership for the next 5 years.
Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi
This action plan is the the successor of the previous Action Plan aimed to continue the progress made under Action Plan 2014 – 2018. The signing of the Action Plan is the commitment of Indonesia and Vietnam to deepen strategic partnership. As Indonesian President Widodo said, the new Action Plan is to expand the field of partnership between Indonesia and Vietnam such as industrial and intellectual property innovation, creative economy, digital economy, and human resource development in order to face the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Both Presidents highlighted economic cooperation of the two countries, especially in the growh in bilateral trade which reached US$6.8 billion in 2017. The total of bilateral trade is expected to reach US$10 billion or even more in 2020. To achieve the target, one of the efforts to be carried out is to eliminate trade barriers that currently still occur, including for exports of Indonesian automotive products.
Futhermore, the Indonesian president also expressed the desire of Indonesian investors to develop their investments in Vietnam.
The ambassador noted that Indonesia was among the earliest countries to invest in Vietnam when the doi moi age started in 1986. Therefore, President Joko Widodo hoped that President Tran Dai Quang will facilitate Indonesian investors in Vietnam and provide fair and good treatment.
In the maritime affairs, both countries agreed to work together in combating illegal fishing by signing Joint Communique in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Continuously growth of bilateral relations
The ambassador shared that since the start of independence ages in both countries, President Ho Chi Minh was been a good friend of President Soekarno. Now, after more than 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1955, Indonesia and Vietnam's bilateral relations have been going well with no disruptions. Until now both countries have signed over 30 bilateral agreements to facilitate cooperation in various fields.
Over the past decade, strong bilateral ties have been marked with frequent high-level visits of the two countries' leaders. On August 22-24, 2017, Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong visited Indonesia and in the same year President Joko Widodo attended APEC Economic Leaders Week hosted by Vietnam in Danang on November 11-12, 2018. This week on September 11 – 12, President Joko Widodo successfully concluded a state visit to Vietnam.
In the economic field, both countries trade and investment cooperations in the last few years have shown positve growth. In 2017, Indonesia – Vietnam trade value increased 8.64% to US$6.8 billion. Last year, Indonesia's investment value to Vietnam also rose 36% and vice versa from Vietnam to Indonesia is estimated at about 300%. In the upcoming years, Indonesia is optimistic that the relations between both countries will be closer and stronger and can reach US$10 billion or even more in bilateral trade.
In the ASEAN context, Vietnam is very important partner for Indonesia. Vietnam is Indonesia’s only strategic partner in ASEAN. Indonesia considers Vietnam a partner with huge potentiality. In the midst of global economy uncertainties, Indonesia appraises Vietnam for maintaining high GDP growth of 6.8% in 2017 and alleviating poverty from 60% to 7%. In line with ASEAN economic integration process, Vietnam’s domestic market with 94 million people is a potential market for Indonesian businesses.
“The World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN was a great opportunity for ASEAN to show to the world of ASEAN economic resilience and ASEAN's strong commitment to development and poverty alleviation. In regional level and in the context of WEF, Indonesia and Vietnam strategic partnership should also be able to deal with the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which among others are the increasing of unemployement and prosperity gap”, Ibnu Hadi confirmed.
Both countries should work together and be supportive to each other in addressing the challenges of Industry 4.0 especially in relation with human resources development and transfer of technology, and last but not least in narrowing the gap of readiness among 10 member countries of ASEAN.