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UK Seeks Closer Ties with Indonesia on Investment, Maritime Security


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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on November 11, 2021. (Photo Courtesy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry)

JAKARTA – The UK is seeking to deepen ties with Indonesia on trade, investment, and maritime security, among others, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced during her visit in Jakarta on Thursday.

A roadmap on UK-Indonesia future cooperation is currently in the making, and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Trade and investment will remain pivotal in the UK-Indonesia relations, according to Truss.

“We want to make sure there are more UK-backed investments going into Indonesia. In particular, we have been talking about areas like the green economy and green energy,” Truss said at a joint press conference with Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on Thursday.

“[As well as] infrastructures and life sciences. There is a huge potential pipeline of investment to Indonesia that both the UK government and private sector are keen to support,” she said.

The UK and Indonesia recently established the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (Jetco), in a bid to address existing market access barriers. Truss revealed the joint committee would meet early next year. 

“We already have a £3 billion [about $4 billion] trading relationship with Indonesia, but this could be much greater,” Truss told the conference.

According to Retno, Indonesia-UK trade remains robust even during the pandemic-stricken year. Until August 2021, bilateral trade rose 14.69 percent, in comparison to the same period last year. 

“In the third quarter of 2021, the FDI [foreign direct investment] from the UK has significantly increased from $37.3 million,” Retno said.

Indonesia also managed to secure a $9.29 billion investment commitment on green economy from the UK, during a meeting with British investors on the sideline of COP26.

Defense and Maritime Security

Truss expressed the UK’s interest to also forge a stronger partnership with Indonesia on maritime security. 

“We also discussed the importance of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. Few weeks ago, the UK’s carrier strike group visited Jakarta. Next year, UK-designed frigates will be built in Surabaya. This is part of our extensive cooperation in the area of defense,” Truss said, alluding to state-run shipbuilder PAL Indonesia’s license agreement with UK-based defense company Babcock.

“We want to deepen our cooperation in the area of maritime security,” she added.

Under the Babcock license, PAL will build two Arrowhead 140 frigates for the Navy.

Truss’ visit in Jakarta followed the recent arrival of the UK Carrier Strike Group to the region, as well as the British frigate HMS Richmond’s joint exercise with the Indonesian Navy last month.


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