Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang (two left) and Director General of the Department of International Information Services of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan Catherine YM Hsu (left) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of China’s program, Tentative Program for International Press Group on Taiwan’s
TAIPEI – Even though Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations, it manages to establish close ties with Taiwan . The relationship has even developed positively over the past 52 years following increasing trade, investment and immigration flows between the two sides.
Relations between Indonesia and Taiwan have existed since the 1970s. The two have successfully built a very strong trade and economic partnership. Looking at the statistics, Taiwan has exported a lot of electrical products to Indonesia, while Indonesia has exported a lot of steel and iron products to Taiwan.
As members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Indonesia and Taiwan have an equal position in trade. Jakarta and Taipei also respect each other considering that economic activity is the main backbone of bilateral relations between the two parties.
Currently, Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However, in order to optimize trade and investment potential with Taiwan, Indonesia established the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office (IETO) in Taipei as a non-governmental organization, while Taiwan formed the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Jakarta.
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Since the two countries have representative offices, trade relations between Indonesia and Taiwan are more regular and have increased significantly. Encouraged by various cooperation programs, Jakarta and Taipei have recorded a total trade of up to USD 11.31 billion in 2021 and USD 690 million until June last year.
Entering the 2000s, Taiwan also strengthened relations with Indonesia through cultural exchanges, education and employment. Immigration traffic between the two countries increased sharply. This exchange does not only occur between workers, but also students, artists, and activists from various NGO bodies.
The President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, also supports this by establishing the New Southbound Policy since 2016, namely a program to increase cooperation with 18 countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia. This program has helped strengthen cooperation between Taiwan and Indonesia in the agricultural sector.
Through the New Southbound Policy, people to people relations between Indonesia and Taiwan have also strengthened. In fact, Taiwan is one of the main destinations for Indonesian migrant workers (PMI). Until the end of last year, there were at least 247 thousand PMIs working and scattered throughout Taiwan, most of them in New Taipei.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (Wamenlu) of Taiwan, Tien Chung-kwang, said Indonesia along with nine other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are important partners outside of trade and economy because of their strategic location. In addition, the culture has similarities.