Asia Business Channel: What is your perception of Indonesia in regards to Canada’s priorities in terms of foreign policy? Could you give us your outlook on the evolution of Canadian-Indonesian politic and economic relations?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: Our relation goes back to 65 years ago. We helped Indonesia at the UN to reach independence. We are both middle powers with a similar size, decentralized, with multi ethnic groups, lots of natural resources and we are both G20 and APEC members. We invested about 2 billion USD in recent years in developing assistance to Indonesia particularly with Bapenas, the Ministry of Planning. We have lots of similarities.
Asia Business Channel: What is the volume of trade between both countries?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: Our bigger commodity export is wheat to Indonesia where it is transformed into bread and noodles. It is also then exported from Indonesia.
Palm oil which is the biggest local export is helped by Canadian fertilizers. There is a strong assistance to make sure the production is made in a responsible way. We believe it is a positive contribution.
Our trade relation is about 3.5 billion USD as a whole.
Asia Business Channel: Among other investors we can mention Blackberry and Bombardier. What about the Canadian input in new technologies and defense?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: Indeed Blackberry is moving from a device company to a security services company. There are still about 50 000 BBM users. They have licensed 2 Indonesian companies the rights to manufacture the special Blackberry Juarez designed for this market. In aviation, Bombardier and Bell helicopters fly over Indonesia. The new sky train at Terminal 3 airport in Jakarta is a joint venture between Bombardier and an Indonesian company. Bombardier does the engine and the Indonesians the rolling stock.
Asia Business Channel: President Jokowi and Prime Minister Trudeau have recently decided to collaborate more on infrastructure projects. Where do we stand today?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: We are working with the World Bank and ADB to assist the Minister of Finance in helping to understand the banking framework for building PPP. We help Asean to support PPP as it provides better quality. There is a desire to use state companies which has limitations. We believe there is more quality in the private sector. Philippines is more advanced in that way and it’s a good model in that area. President Jokowi is right to improve connectivity.
Asia Business Channel: Tell us about your contribution to renewable energies ?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: We believe green economy is the future. We’re good in building dams but also in micro hydro to develop micro electricity to indigenous populations in remote areas. We are also strong in solar. Solmax from Quebec is developing biogas by taking the bio products waste from palm oil production. We’re developing geothermal projects but the issue is how to distribute. PLN is a state monopoly here and we hardly understand it from our perspective as in Canada there are several providers for each of our provinces.
Asia Business Channel: What would be your final message to Canadian investors?
HE Mr Peter MacArthur: Indonesia is big and will become a top 10 economy in 2030. It’s a democracy that believes more and more in PPP.