OFFICIAL VISIT BY SWISS COUNCIL OF STATES’ PRESIDENT TO INDONESIA AND THAILAND
The President of the Council of States of Switzerland is visiting Indonesia from October 31 to November 3, 2021.
Indonesia and Thailand are two important trading partners for Switzerland. The COVID-19 crisis has had a negative impact on economic relations with our international partners. "I am undertaking this visit with the conviction and the goal that face-to-face talks will enable us to continue from where we left off at the start of the pandemic”, said Council of States President Alex Kuprecht ahead of his official trip to Indonesia and Thailand. Mr. Kuprecht will be accompanied on his visit by Benedikt Würth (The Centre, SG), a member of the Council of States and vice president of the delegation to the EFTA Parliamentary Committee.
The first part of the Council of States’ presidential visit will take the delegation to Jakarta and Lombok, Indonesia. The Southeast Asian country is the third-largest democracy globally and is expected to have the fourth largest economy globally by 2050. Indonesia has been one of eight priority countries in SECO’s cooperation program for economic development since 2009.
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Meetings will take place from October 31 to November 3 between the Swiss delegation and representatives from the Indonesian parliament and the environment and trade ministries. On November 1, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the EFTA States and Indonesia, approved by the Swiss electorate in March, will come into force.
The following day, Switzerland and Indonesia will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic relations. Talks scheduled with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretary-general will focus on strengthening Switzerland’s position as an economic and political partner of the Association. The delegation will also visit a vocational school for tourism in Lombok, which teaches sustainable management and is supported by Switzerland.
From November 3 to 6, the Swiss delegation will visit Thailand, where it will meet the presidents of both parliamentary chambers, the deputy prime minister and trade minister, and the transport minister in Bangkok. Discussion topics will include economic policy, the political situation in Thailand, and cooperation on combating climate change.
The delegation is also scheduled to meet with the Thailand Switzerland Parliamentary Friendship Group and participate in strengthening trade relations between EFTA and Thailand regarding the expected resumption of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two parties. A meeting between Mr. Kuprecht and the Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce is planned in this context.
This year Switzerland and Thailand are celebrating 90 years of bilateral relations. Around 10,000 Swiss live in Thailand, the largest Swiss community in Asia. The Council of States’ president will meet with members of the expatriate community at the Swiss embassy in Bangkok.
Indonesia’s development priorities
Indonesia's economic planning takes the form of the national, five-year, medium-term development plans, referred to as National Mid-Term Development Plan or Rencana Pembangunan Jangka Menengah Nasional (RPJMN). Each of these plans outlines specific development priorities. The plans constitute the basis for all ministries and government agencies to formulate strategic plans for their respective sectors.
The new RPJMN for 2020-2024 has set a conservative GDP growth target of 5.4 to 6%, compared to the ambitious 8% target stipulated in the 2015-2019 plan. The government will focus on developing infrastructure, improving human resources, removing obstacles that hinder investment, reforming the bureaucracy, and ensuring that the state budget is used efficiently.
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The government's current top priority is to bolster the country's human resources to help Indonesia reach its full economic potential. These broad objectives are broken down into seven development agendas as detailed in the RPJMN 2020-2024.
Four of those agendas directly relate to economic development and SECO's work building economic resilience for quality growth, developing quality and competitive human resources, strengthening infrastructure to support economic development and delivery of essential services, and strengthening natural environment, disaster, and climate change resilience.
Indonesia's five-year development plan also highlights the government's commitment to implementing the SDGs, institutionalized from the highest national level to sub-national entities, and integrated into national and subnational development planning.
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