Innovative Partnership
    Category: Issues & Ideas By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 1444 Date : Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 10:22:37

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    KaI Sauer ended his four-year term as the Ambassador of Finland for Indonesia and left for his new post as Finland’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York on August 10. A few weeks before his departure Kai held an interview with Forbes Indonesia at his office overlooking the Mega Kuningan area in Jakarta, taking a look back at his accomplishments and taking a look forward at his hopes for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Finland had a historic role as a friend of Indonesia, as the country was a key player in mediating the peace agreement in Aceh and now, Kai says, it is actively developing an investment and trade relationship.

    The trade between the two countries is now close to $500 million, what has been done to improve the number?

    The statistics are always lagging. We have many Finnish companies that operate from Singapore and Shanghai for example and have a business relationship with Indonesia but it’s not reflected in the figures. The trade between the countries could be double the figure because last year we had some huge agreements, like Konecranes sold some cranes worth €130 million to PT Pelabuhan Indonesia III for its port in Surabaya and that is yet to be included in the figures. This year a company called Valmet has sold equipment for a pulp mill project in South Sumatera worth €550 million.

    In the past, our business has been focused in China and India. But now, with developments such as the labor cost increase and the saturated mar- ket in China, eyes are moving towards the other part of Asia, particularly to Indonesia. My main mission during my four-year term here was to pro- mote trade. It’s a clear shift from the political agenda that we used to have with the peace agreement in Aceh, and now we are moving to economic and trade promotion.

    And what’s the progress on this target?

    We try to facilitate and be active on the political level. We have succeeded in bringing the minister of trade, the minister of economy, and several del- egations to Indonesia. The awareness is increasing and many of these visitors said that the visit was a real eyeopener. They wouldn’t have imagined the level of development in Indonesia and there is a certain match to what Finland has to offer and what Indonesia needs. Indonesia is in a certain stage of development where it needs a lot of investment in infrastructure, transportation, communication and energy. For Indonesia, it is possible to leap from a very low level to very high level, like Germany and Japan did after the World War II. For example, Indonesia needs to invest in renewable energy like biomass, geothermal or hydro. Finland has much technology to offer and we are interested in sharing and cooperating.