Report on trade mission to Indonesia

  • Date Added: 12th June 2013 from ExportNZ

  • Indonesia

    This report covers a joint trade mission to Indonesia from 18 to 31 May 2013, organised by ExportNZ Auckland and the ASEAN Business Council and led by Chair of ExportNZ Sir Ken Stevens.

    By Gilbert Peterson

    The trade mission to Indonesia promoted and managed jointly by ExportNZ Auckland and the ASEAN Combined Business Council was an unqualified success.

    Highlights included:

    • Mission led by Minister Hon. Maurice Williamson and Sir Ken Stevens.
    • 52 delegates in all, including 20 from a separately managed and convened NZTE aviation sector group.
    • 16 major business networking events/activities each lasting several hours.
    • 4 cities visited – Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Bali – the first NZ trade mission to travel beyond Jakarta.
    • Superb collaboration between NZ Ambassador in Indonesia, HE David Taylor, NZ Trade Commissioner in Indonesia, Tim Anderson, and our private sector group.
    • A major New Zealand focused conference in Jakarta addressed by Indonesia’s Vice Minister Bayu, Indonesia’s Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) Chairman Suryo Sulisto, Hon Maurice Williamson and Sir Ken. This event and the subsequent dinner were sponsored. most generously by the ASB/Commonwealth Bank.
    • News reports on the mission and on New Zealand were run in Surabaya’s Jawa Pos newspaper (circ. 1.1 m).
    • Total sales expectations from delegates directly resulting from mission were a minimum of $1million.
    • Eye opener site visits to a shrimp processor, major Jakarta mall, Bandung provincial government in a heritage building, a golf resort, and an international newspaper.
    • Numerous business contacts made.
    • Mission reported in NZ media with major magazine articles coming up.

    The delegates

    Amongst the 32 mission delegates we were responsible for were six from three of our leading banks, a first for our missions. They reported they were there to gain knowledge about Indonesia and make contacts on behalf of clients in NZ. 

    Another strong contingent of five people was from NZ technical education institutes. One of them noted that Education NZ traditionally targets educational institutes offshore to recruit students for NZ but this mission demonstrated they might target businesses too since businesses are where the skills will be put to use, and businesses often have funds that the educational institutes may not have.

    Other delegates represented food & beverage (4), agricultural technology, telecoms technology, and geothermal.

    Two reps from the Poutama Trust participated. The Trust is an umbrella group representing a wide range of Maori enterprise.  After strong urging, Tim Ritchie from the Meat Industry Association also joined the mission, and was very pleased to be able to present NZ’s position on beef quotas again. Indonesia has lately been limiting access to our beef producers.

    The chief executive of AsureQuality, Michael Thomas, also benefited from the mission.

    The programme

    To attract local business people in Jakarta, and as a networking opportunity for mission delegates we presented a conference there on New Zealand. This was partly to reciprocate the Indonesia summit held in Auckland last year.  The idea won strong backing from both MFAT and NZTE in Jakarta, and ultimately their excellent work brought it to fruition. Speakers included Indonesia’s Vice Minister Bayu and Suryo Sulisto, Chairman of KADIN, their Chambers of Commerce which are very influential. 

    Lobbying in NZ resulted in Customs and Building Minister Maurice Williamson being made available to address the conference. Maurice’s enthusiasm did us all proud, both at the conference and the gala dinner held the same evening with some 200 local business people attending.

    Other features of the two week programme included detailed economic and employment briefings in Jakarta and Surabaya, and meetings with KADIN, Apindo (Indonesia’s employer organization) and HIPME (the young entrepreneurs association) in Bandung, Surabaya and Bali.  These meetings triggered opportunities for business matching between our delegates and theirs, and resulted in appointments being made for later the same day or the next.

    Two meetings with local government officials – in Bandung and Surabaya – highlighted Indonesian aspirations for economic development, while giving insights to how they go about making regulations.

    Two social occasions – one in Jakarta and another in Bali – presented excellent opportunities to meet expatriate kiwis, who are invaluable sources of experience and information.

    Our partners

    I cannot overstate the wholehearted support and co-operation we achieved with NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially our Ambassador HE David Taylor, and with NZTE’s team in Jakarta led by Trade Commissioner Tim Anderson. Tim has lived in Indonesia for several years and is fluent in Bahasa Indonesia.  It made a big difference. His team of three Business Development managers were dedicated to the success of the mission for the duration.  A huge vote of thanks is due to them.

    Furthermore, NZTE ensured we could take journalist Ruth Le Pla on the mission, and assisted with hosting several key meetings which required substantial catering.

    Generous sponsorship from the ASB/Commonwealth Bank in Indonesia was made available to cover the major New Zealand Forum in Jakarta and the gala dinner following.


    Beca hosted a visit to one of their projects in Jakarta, Pacific Place, a major mall which is complete but about to be further developed. Few people get the chance to go behind the scenes in such a place, or stand on the roof of its tower looking out over the Jakarta sprawl.

    Bandung’s local government office is a hundred year old gracious building that used to be the governor’s residence at the time of the Dutch rule. After our meeting there we were invited up onto the roof to take tea, and the breeze.

    The shrimp processing plant at Surabaya was a revelation. 300 people standing in line peeling shrimp all day, all covered up, and all meeting exacting hygiene codes. 

    The Jawa Pos newspaper is running up to date technology in a very modern office, and they don’t put their news on line. People still like print for the news. But they are leapfrogging some technology too, by going straight to mobile internet. And its said some 9000 motorcycles are added daily to the traffic.

    Delegate successes

    Though responses to our post mission survey from several delegates are still to come in, the replies make clear that everyone gained very large benefits, had excellent value for money, and would come on another of our missions.

    One delegate is confident of a sale in excess of $1 million due directly to his being on the mission. Other contacts will no doubt see more two-way trade develop.

    Delegates expressed their praise for the mission in the warmest terms.

    In conclusion

    A strong group of New Zealand companies are now far better informed on the trade prospects to be developed with Indonesia. The country is no more challenging than many other Asian markets, but New Zealand has been significantly under represented there.

    On the corruption issue there is plenty of trade to be done without getting involved. They were up front about it and many traders seem able to avoid it. 

    Our smaller businesses were also able to interact easily and comfortably with counterparts who were often from very large businesses.

    English language is also fairly widely understood – we experienced few communication issues.

    We are confident new trade deals will be struck as a result of the mission and the links made will stand us in good stead for many years ahead.



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