The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber today hosted delegates from the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC) and Bay businesses in a bid to highlight opportunities, explore areas of collaboration, strengthen trading partnerships and showcase the Metro as an attractive investment destination.
Business Chamber members and delegates had an opportunity to engage the Indonesian delegates led by Pontas Tobing, Director of ITPC, through an information exchange and dialogue session hosted at the Business Chamber offices this morning.
“The outcome of the meeting was productive and fruitful. The delegation indicated that a major Indonesian company in the food industry had expressed interest in setting up a manufacturing plant in South Africa. We will rigorously pursue such leads to facilitate investments into the city. It was exciting to hear the number of jobs such operations have created in two other African countries” said Nomkhita Mona, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.
Tobing’s presentation indicated that Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world with a population of 250 million. It also is the 16th largest economy in the world.
South Africa’s major exports to Indonesia include chemical wood pulp (US$114m), gold (US$29m), ferrous waste and scrap (US$14m), copper (US$13m) and pears (US$11m).
“However, a big concern expressed was that sometimes it is very difficult to invest in South Africa than it is in other African countries. This is because the process of setting up an operation by a foreign company is stringent. In particular, the delegation noted that turn-around times are slow and that our country’s Visa requirements are not as conducive as in other countries,” she said.
Mona also said “Trade between Indonesia and South Africa has potential to grow. We need to engage authorities to reduce the barriers restricting FDI inflows into the country and our city.”
“Indonesia can be a significant export market for products and services from Nelson Mandela Bay, and we must explore avenues that create export market access for Business Chamber members” said Mona.
Tobing said Indonesia has a 30-day “No Visa” requirement for more than 170 countries. This also accounts for the good performance of the Indonesian tourism sector. It would be good if South Africa could consider similar policies. In addition, it only takes two hours for an investor to set up shop in Indonesia.
In 2017, South Africa and Indonesia signed the Plan of Action 2017-2021 for the implementation of the Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership for a Peaceful and Prosperous Future between the Government of Indonesia and the Government of South Africa.
“As a result of the visit, we will now see a grassroots business-to-business outreach, and we believe the Bay is an important and attractive investment destination. Equally, we were keen to learn what activities, investment avenues and export opportunities are possibly on the horizon for businesses in the Metro,” Mona said.
Alan Millard, Marketing Manager of SA Canvas said the meeting was very informative.
“It is very interesting to understand the Indonesian industry and their business hub and interests.
“There is an interest in our outdoor leisure market product from the Indonesian Trade Commission who will contact other businesses in the same industry and put them in contact with us,”
“I believe the meeting held at the Business Chamber today was beneficial. We often work in isolation without knowledge of international requirements and I believe these types of meetings and delegations are beneficial to growing the Port Elizabeth market and addressing the unemployment and I feel that it is certainly very valuable,” Millard said.
The Business Chamber will be getting in direct contact with the Indonesian Business Chamber to explore further business opportunities. This would ensure that the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber member businesses are exposed and participate during the planned business delegations.