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Discover the business potential of Thailand and Indonesia

11.07.2018 12:22

International Affairs

From left to right : Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, H.E. Manasvi Srisodapol, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Luxembourg, Head of Mission of Thailand to the European Union, H.E. Yuri Octavian Thamrin, Ambassador of Indonesia to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, Jeannot Erpelding, Director of International Affairs, Chamber of Commerce.

On July 4, 2018, the Chamber of Commerce, in close cooperation with the Embassies of Thailand and Indonesia in Brussels organized the countries seminar “Discover the business potential of Thailand and Indonesia" in view of a multi-sectoral trade mission to both countries this year, from 22nd to 26th October.

Indonesia and Thailand are founding member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which represents today a strong regional organization, the world’s third fastest growing economy, immediately behind India and China. The economic size of the 10 ASEAN member countries outpaced BRIC countries Brazil and Russia, and will compare to the size of India’s economy in the coming years.

Mr. Carlo Thelen, Director General of the Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the honored guests, H.E. Mr Manasvi Srisodapol, Ambassador of Thailand to Belgium and Luxembourg, Head of Mission of Thailand to the European Union and H.E. Mr Yuri Octavian Thamrin, Ambassador of Indonesia to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union.

The first session of the seminar was dedicated to Thailand. H.E. Mr Manasvi Srisodapol took the floor to present the Thai economy and suggested Luxembourgish companies consider Thailand as an economic corridor to a “dynamic Asia”. Indeed, Thailand’s economic growth reached 4% last year, the best growth performance since 2012. The country boasts of strong economic fundamentals: steady inflation and interest rates, low unemployment, and reasonable public and external debt level. H.E. Mr Manasvi Srisodapol also mentioned the investor-friendly environment thanks to incentives, visa facilitation, duty exemption and tax deduction on R&D investment. Besides, Thailand has recently approved a law for the development of its Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) under scheme of Thailand 4.0. The EEC, home of hi-growth and hi-tech industries, is focused on robotics, aviation, logistics, biotech, medical hubs and digital and will provide additional 2 years of tax exemption as well as another 5 years of 50% tax reduction.

Mr. Roongruk Chanprasert, Counselor at the Royal Thai Embassy in Brussels and Mr. Arkanae Sawangkamol from the Office of Tourism Authority of Thailand in Paris, took the floor to present the cultural & business approach of the Thai market and explained the concept “Bleisure - Business & Leisure”. “Thailand is one of the best “Bleisure” destinations in the world where you can combine business and leisure because after work there is much to enjoy and experience […] (e.g.; accommodation, wellness, restaurant, golf, etc)”.

In order to complete the seminar, a testimonial was given by Mr. Wim Hermans, Sales President of the Luxembourg-based company B Medical Systems, which has more than 35 years of global expertise in cold chain and medical refrigeration. Mr Hermans shared with the audience 30 years of successful business relations in Thailand. The company has been working closely more than 20 years with Thai Red Cross Society (TRCS) to provide Blood Cold Chain equipment with the introduction of contact shock freezers to TRCS and other centres/hospitals in Thailand when there was a similar need.

The second part of the seminar was dedicated to Indonesia. H.E. Mr Yuri Octavian Thamrin reminded the audience that 2018 was a key year since it marks 45 years of bilateral diplomatic ties between Luxembourg and Indonesia. The Ambassador also referred to the 33rd edition of the international b2b-focused tradeshow “Trade Expo Indonesia 2018” to be held in October in Indonesia during the trade mission organised by the Chamber of Commerce. During his speech, the Ambassador also mentioned that the country was rich in terms of energy, natural resources, gas, coal, minerals and fishery since Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. Strategically positioned along major sea lines connecting East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania, Indonesia also holds a natural appeal for foreign investors. Aside from its geographical reach to major international markets, the country houses over 250 million people offering a considerable domestic market. In addition, the country has relatively low wages, which provide a cost-effective source of manpower for investors.

Ms Theopita Tampubolon, Deputy Director of Indonesia Investment Promotion Center Business, presented the business opportunities in Indonesia, which is the largest economy as well as the largest and most populated country in ASEAN. The country is also the 5th biggest contributor to world’s economic growth. She also mentioned that 3 major credit agencies gave a triple B to Indonesia which should be the 7th largest economy in the world in 2030 according to McKinsey & Company.

Finally, Mrs Daniela Cedola, Programme Director of EU Gateway Coaching Network and Director at PwC Luxembourg, presented the EU Gateway | Business Avenues, an exclusive program which assists high growth European companies in entering Asian markets (especially ASEAN markets: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines as well as Japan, China, Korea). PwC Luxembourg, being appointed to implementing the EU Gateways programs on behalf of the EU, has coached and taken more than 900 companies to business missions in South East Asia, Korea, China, and Japan since 2016.

Mr. Jeannot Erpelding, Director of International Affairs, went on to say that this initiative was complementary to the services provided by the Chamber of Commerce whose trade missions are multi-sectoral whereas EU Gateway | Business Avenues targets specific sectors.

Mr Erpelding concluded the seminar by saying that there was still a lot to do between Luxembourg, Indonesia and Thailand. “The role of the Chamber of Commerce and other partners like Embassies […] is to encourage and help companies to experience the outside world in order to grasp new opportunities offered by markets abroad […] and for sure there will be business coming out of that”.