RI, Japan going all-out to support SMEs
After sealing major cooperation agreements in various sectors, including infrastructure, Japan and Indonesia are bringing their business partnership to the next level by teaming up to boost relations between and the performances of their small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
On Wednesday, business organizations representing the two countries set up the so-called “Indonesia-Japan Business Matching Support Desk” (IJ-BMSD), which is aimed at helping SMEs from the two countries to boost exports and imports.
The desk is jointly managed by representatives from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) and various Japanese business communities. It will help SMEs from the two countries to list and match demand through websites and database developed by the Japanese.
“This is the first time ever that we have had a business matching desk that already has a well-structured database,” said Shinta Kamdani, Kadin vice chairman for international relations, during the launch of the desk.
To use the services, Indonesian SMEs should open accounts on the websites jetro.go.jp/ttppe and jgoodtech.smrj.go.jp, both of which contain information about thousands of SMEs in Japan and its country partners.
Registered SMEs can use the web sites to showcase their products and expertise as well as mentioning preferred partnerships they are seeking with other parties. “The websites have been running for years but only now are they accessible for Indonesian SMEs,” Shinta said.
Out of 57 million SMEs in Indonesia, Kadin hopes to see at least 2,000 of them register with the websites. “We’ll choose around 2,000 qualified businesses that can partner with the Japanese and also can trade there. Once they can
penetrate Japan’s market, it’ll be good for their portfolio. It means they can enter other markets too because Japan itself already has high qualifications for products,” Shinta explained.
Economic relations between the two countries have improved in the past couple of years. Last year, Japan invested US$2.9 billion in Indonesia, second only to Singapore. This figure is forecast to reach up to $4 billion this year.
Japan has also committed to lending billions of dollars for the government’s major infrastructure projects, including Patimban Port in West Java and the development of new power plants. Loan agreements for some of the projects have also been signed.
Japan and Indonesia have also seen a substantial volume of bilateral trade over the past year. In 2015, total trade between the countries stood at $29.5 billion, with a surplus for Indonesia of $6.51 billion, according to Geneva-based International Trade Centre.
Indonesia’s exports to Japan mainly consist of petroleum products, electrical components, ores, slag, ash, wood products and rubber. Japan’s exports to Indonesia largely consist of machinery, vehicles, iron, steel and electronic products.
Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) president director Daiki Kasugahara said that through improved coordination, SMEs from both parties would have opportunities to make transfers of knowledge about technology, market characteristics and strategies.
SME Enterprises Japan (SMEJ) chairman Yasunobu Shiraishi, meanwhile, said other huge trade opportunities were still open for the two countries, including in the automotive, electronic components, home appliances, food and handicraft sectors.
He further cited the possibility of bigger investment by thousands of Japanese enterprises in the near future. “We also want to see more Japanese companies invest in Indonesia. Roughly 2,000 of our companies are present here but that’s still small compared to more than 5,000 in Thailand,” he said.