Speech by Mark Rutte at the Indonesia-Netherlands Business Dinner

Speech by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, at the Indonesia-Netherlands Business Dinner, Jakarta.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Selamat malam!

Welcome to the Borobudur Hotel and thank you for inviting me to say a few words before dinner. It’s good to see so many business leaders gathered here tonight. That says something about our countries’ mutual ambitions and the economic potential we see in each other.

Yesterday President Yudhoyono and I issued our Joint Declaration on a Comprehensive Partnership. This Declaration is what our visit is all about. And in fact, our detailed discussions today show that we’re already putting it into practice. In this document, the president and I reaffirm how vital and valuable we believe our relationship is. We state clearly that Indonesia and the Netherlands want to move forward together. That we have a lot to offer each other in economic, political and cultural terms. And that we see great opportunities ahead. In short: this document is all about a forward-looking relationship in which we can join forces and reap mutual benefits.

The Netherlands is already Indonesia’s second-biggest trading partner within the European Union. And thanks to the port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport, we are also Indonesia’s gateway to the rest of Europe. What’s more, for many years now the Netherlands has been the largest European investor in Indonesia.

But both Dutch and Indonesian businesses rightly see many more opportunities for cooperation. Last year, trade between our countries rose by no less than 18 per cent, defying the current global trend. That speaks for itself. It also explains why this is the biggest Dutch trade mission to Indonesia ever. I am joined by more than a hundred companies. Some have been doing business here for decades, and others want to get a foothold. But they all see opportunities and want to join forces. They represent business sectors in which the Dutch have always excelled. Sectors where our countries already work together closely, and where the future opportunities are biggest.

We also have a lot to offer each other in the international arena. The Netherlands can help steer Indonesia through the world of EU legislation and rules. In fact, we’re already doing so, for example with a training programme to help Indonesia comply with the EU’s air cargo safety regulations.

Indonesia likewise can help the Netherlands access the ASEAN market. Indonesia has the potential to become the world’s seventh-biggest economy by 2030. That says something about the impressive way the country has developed in recent years. In the Netherlands we’ve been watching this progress with great admiration. The global financial crisis seems to have passed Indonesia by. Year after year, it achieves growth figures of around six per cent. In Europe, the construction industry is suffering, but here skyscrapers are shooting up all the time. Car manufacturers and electronics firms are doing better than ever, thanks to the rising middle class. We have deep respect for these achievements. All this explains why Dutch businesses are so interested in Indonesia. We hope that by offering Dutch expertise in the sectors we excel in, we can contribute to Indonesia’s impressive economic development. There are good foundations for this type of cooperation.

For decades both countries have worked together closely in the area of flood protection. We are applying Dutch know-how in efforts to protect Jakarta from flooding. In the process we are also learning about the type of flood risks the Netherlands may face in the future. Our maritime industry, which includes companies like IHC Merwede, also has a lot to offer.

The same goes for the Dutch aviation industry, which is also represented in our trade mission, and is involved in several big projects at Indonesian airports. Take the Dutch company VanDerLande, which developed the baggage-handling system for Indonesia’s newest international airport at Medan, in North Sumatra.

Our mission also includes Dutch companies and research organisations in the area of agri-food, life sciences and health care.

They see plenty of scope for working with Indonesian partners on the many challenges Indonesia faces in developing its healthcare sector. The Dutch firm BMA, for example, has teamed up with partners here to develop a system for maternal pre-natal registration in Indonesia, which will help improve health care for pregnant women and newborn babies. During our visit there will be plenty of opportunity to make new contacts. Various participants will be concluding concrete agreements with their Indonesian counterparts at a signing ceremony later this evening. These agreements are based on cooperation geared to innovation. That’s something we certainly have in common. They involve large companies like Frisian Flag and East-West Seed, as well as the joint venture between Dutch firm Resin and its Indonesian partner Polymindo.

I hope that the days ahead will produce many more initiatives like these. I also hope that the Netherlands and Indonesia will continue to join forces as they have in the past, creating many fine plans for the future. Our countries share a special bond. A bond to cherish and to build on. That’s why we are here.

Terima Kasih. Thank you.