August 17, 2023
JAKARTA – The Foreign Ministry and Finance Ministry have agreed to collaborate on strengthening the country’s economic diplomacy, Indonesia’s distinct brand of diplomacy under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and her Finance Ministry counterpart Sri Mulyani Indrawati signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic diplomacy in Jakarta.
“The Finance Ministry has the resources, capacity and data in financial matters. Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has the diplomatic infrastructure and international network,” Retno said in a statement on Monday. “We should work side-by-side to complete each other by joining forces.”
Both ministries expected the MoU to help bring the real benefits of economic diplomacy to the people, including by encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to reach the global market.
“We understand that President Jokowi understands that SMEs are the backbone of the Indonesian economy. With this MoU, the government will strengthen policies that will help SMEs penetrate new markets,” Retno said.
The MoU, Sri Mulyani said, would also serve as a breakthrough to enhance the capacities of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and SMEs amid uncertainties in the global market.
“This collaboration […] on economic diplomacy will be supported by financial instruments and policies, which will stimulate innovation and the growth of new programs, such as the one creating new opportunities for SMEs to expand into the global market,” the finance minister said.
After signing the agreement, the two ministers briefed 131 Indonesian diplomats on how to start preparing comprehensive market intelligence studies for Indonesian SMEs products.
The two ministries also planned to hold events to connect SMEs and Indonesian embassies abroad to help the small businesses reach a wider market.
Economic diplomacy has been the focus of Jokowi’s foreign policy since he came into power in 2014. The President has been asking Indonesian diplomats to bring home investments and export deals.
He has also deployed businesspeople to several diplomatic posts, as well as the other way around. Jokowi appointed former Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Rosan Roeslani as the Indonesian Ambassador to the United States in October 2021. He held the post for nearly two years before being called back to be appointed deputy SOEs minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle.