Asia Business Channel: Could you give us an outlook on the perception of Indonesia in regards to Germany’s priorities in terms of foreign policy?
H.E Mr. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg: We see Indonesia as a priority as it is one of the largest countries in the world. The country is developing very well with an emerging middle class and strong natural resources. Indonesia plays a vital role in terms of stability in the region. It has aspirations of reaching the Security Council of the UN in the coming years.
Asia Business Channel: What is your volume of trade with Indonesia as one of Europe major intention is to reinforce the CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement)?
H.E Mr. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg: CEPA is important as Europe’s trade with Indonesia can be increased. Germany has stronger trade with Malaysia which is by far smaller than Indonesia. Indonesia made massive progresses as it can be reflected in the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the World Bank. There are some hurdles like bureaucracy, tariffs and non-tariffs barriers. These issues will be addressed in CEPA. We hope that an agreement can be reached early next year.
Asia Business Channel: German SMEs account for a large proportion of the German economy. To what extent are they present in Indonesia?
H.E Mr. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg: Indeed SMEs are a strong driver of the German economy. Indonesia is little known comparing to China. It is both the market but also the knowledge that are essential. China has been a major objective and German companies have been very successful there. In Indonesia, some companies like Siemens or Mercedes Benz have been here for more than 100 years. In energy there is a very strong competition from China and Japan but Siemens is still strong here including in renewable energies. We have good reputation, a strong after sales services and big local inputs. We are a strong partner in terms of vocational training where we provide theoretical training and prepare the students to the realities of the enterprise world. The Germans are very strong in that type of programs where we assist and introduce on the needs of the private sectors. In automobile we have big companies but the market is predominantly dominated by Japanese cars. In pharmaceuticals, Bayer is strong here.
Asia Business Channel: Where would you like to see more German investments?
H.E Mr. Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg: In health, logistics, tourism, energy there are wide opportunities. It is hard to single out just one sector. There are 6000 islands that are inhabited and you need to provide energy to them. Java for instance is the most populated island in the world and they need extra energy as well. We believe there is a huge potential to develop renewable energies. Our organization like GIZ or Kfw provide millions of grants and credits to develop these sectors. Auto motor and chemical industries are also sectors with opportunities for our companies.