Singapore, Indonesia sign trade deals

Singapore and Indonesia have praised their bilateral co-operation during talks between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Joko Widodo, who thanked the city-state for offering aid when Lombok, Palu and Donggala were hit by natural disasters this year.

“Jokowi” also announced a US$10-billion currency swap and US dollar repurchase agreement between the two countries to ensure trade can be conducted with the Singaporean dollar and rupiah, even in times of financial stress. The president, who faces re-election next year, said this would reduce uncertainty from exchange-rate fluctuations during periods of volatility.

“In the midst of this global economic uncertainty, economic co-operation was our focus,” said Jokowi, while announcing the currency swap and repurchase deal between Bank Indonesia and Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The pair also signed the Bilateral Investment Treaty, which sets down rules for investments and investors from the other country, to offer investment protection and access to international arbitration to settle disputes.

Singapore is Indonesia’s largest investor.

Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry said: “This is especially significant as Singapore has been the top investor in Indonesia since 2014, with realised investments reaching US$8.4 billion in 2017.”

Lee, the world leader with the highest official pay with a wage of US$1.7 million a year, praised the strong trading partnership and high visitor numbers.

Singapore is Indonesia’s third-largest trading partner zafter trade totalling US$43 billion last year while Indonesia is Singapore’s sixth-largest trading partner after China, Malaysia, US, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

They signed the Industry 4.0 deal between Enterprise Singapore and Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry to share expertise during the “fourth industrial revolution”.

A tourist deal was signed by Pelindo III and Star Cruises to encourage more cruises and the upgrade of the port at Celukan Bawang in Bali. It suggested the improvement of other ports run by Pelindo III, such as the Tanjung Priok port in north Jakarta.

Other agreements were made to boost educational ties, cultural co-operation, human-resource development and defence and security interaction.

Lee said: “We have accomplished much together in last few years under President Jokowi’s leadership. We can do much more together for the long-term benefit of our people.

“Our co-operation will continue during the next few months and I’m sure after next year’s [presidential election] we will pick up again and grow in the years ahead.”

Batam in Indonesia, near Singapore, is popular with Lion City residents. Picture credit: Flickr