France is putting industrial cooperation at the heart of its economic ties with Indonesia as Paris seeks to boost its business presence in Jakarta.
According to French Ambassador to Indonesia Fabien Penone, the bilateral ties have been going strong, particularly on trade and investment. Many French companies of different industries already have operations in Indonesia.
“Developing trade is important, but what is most important is the industrial partnership between our two countries. We already have the presence of French companies here on the industrial and technological basis,” Penone told reporters on the sidelines of a water security seminar in Sentul, Bogor, on Friday.
“In the future, we wish to keep reinforcing this industrial partnership. It is a priority. We have major French companies [in Indonesia]. They [come from] different sectors such as mining and consumer goods,” Penone said.
Penone did not give the latest data on how many French companies had expanded to Indonesia. However, his predecessor Olivier Chambard in 2020 said there were at least 200 French companies of different scales operating in Indonesia. Some major French investors in Indonesia include the food company Danone and cosmetics producer L’Oreal.
Government data shows that Indonesia attracted a whopping $252.9 million in investment from France throughout 2022. The French investment went to 1,160 projects across the archipelago. Indonesia-France trade rose from $2.3 billion in 2021 to $2.4 billion the following year. Indonesia’s main exports to France in 2022 included machinery and electrical equipment, vegetable oil, and apparel, among others. Cosmetics, electric equipment, and dairy products were among the goods that Indonesia mainly imported from France last year.
Investment in Nusantara — Indonesia’s new capital city which lies in East Kalimantan — has become a top priority in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s foreign economic diplomacy. Jokowi would always try to bring up the megaproject whenever he meets other world leaders. In a recent bilateral meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Jokowi thanked France for inking four letters of intent (LoI) to invest in Nusantara.
Penone recalled his on-site visit to Nusantara in June, during which he also brought along 20 French business delegates. They represented various sectors, starting from energy and smart city technology to eco-friendly materials.
“We value the importance of [Indonesia’s] new capital. The visit was very important to see that the on-the-ground project is [in the works]. Some French companies are already in touch with the government and the city authority to develop the concrete projects,” Penone said.
The capital city authority revealed earlier this month that the new capital had amassed 270 LoIs from both domestic and foreign investors. About 202 of them came from the ASEAN region, which would include Indonesian businesses.
Source: Jakarta Globe