Diaspora business champions add spice to Indonesia's export trade with Australia

On the sidelines of the high-level meetings in Australia between Indonesian President Joko Widowo and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, senior members of the Indonesian ministerial delegation attended a special warehouse function in Sydney with representatives of the NSW Indonesian business community, known to them as 'diaspora'. Geoffrey Gold highlights their reports: 

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, during a face-to-face meeting with Indonesian businessmen and entrepreneurs at the Livingstone Warehouse, Sydney Australia

INDONESIA'S COORDINATING Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr Airlangga Hartarto, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Retno Marsudi, and the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Mr Siswo Pramono, were hosted by Mr Ivan Paulus, Vice President of Livingston International at his premises in Sydney on Monday 3 July 2023, where they met local Indonesian business representatives, including members of the Indonesian Business Council of NSW.

Members of IBC and other Indonesian diaspora businesses
Coordinating Minister Airlangga, who is also Chair of the Golkar Party, acknowledged that it isn’t easy "building a business from below in a foreign country" that can "survive and be sustainable", calling those at the gathering "Indonesian champions".

According to Golkar Indonesia, the businesses represented – ranging from culinary, Indonesian food and beverage products, property consultants, furniture made from natural materials such as bamboo and rattan to digital contract technology – “are committed to promoting Indonesian products in Australia, replacing the market share of products from China with Indonesian products”.

At her official Menlu ministerial Twitter account, Ms Retno also thanked the participants for “supporting efforts in increasing Indonesian exports to Australia.”

Another senior Indonesian government official, Trade Minister Mr Zulkifli Hasan, affirmed that the government is, according to the official Antara news agency, “ready to facilitate young members of the Indonesian diaspora to embark on entrepreneurship in Australia” and expressed hope that “young diasporas can promote Indonesia and everything it has to offer”- including food, arts, and tourism.

"The Trade Ministry is open to facilitating those works and efforts through the help of our trade representatives. In Australia, you can seek assistance from our trade attaché in Canberra and the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre in Sydney," the Minister suggested.

Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan at Garam Merica in Sydney
On Tuesday, 4 July, Mr Zulkifli met separately with Indonesian diaspora at Sydney's
Garam Merica Indonesian restaurant which “is owned by an Indonesian diaspora cooperating with Australian importers, and all products used by the restaurant come from Indonesia”.

ITPC Sydney Deputy Director, Ms Annisa Puspasari, added that Indonesia’s “Spice Up the World” program could be implemented by opening Indonesian restaurants in Australia. 

"The Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre in Sydney is always encouraging and supporting Indonesian diaspora who open Indonesian restaurants, including using spices made in Indonesia," she said.