Credit by The Straits Times | Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat at the Istana on Oct 8, 2019
Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat: The Two ASEAN Countries to Up Economic Cooperation
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY Indonesia

Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat: The Two ASEAN Countries to Up Economic Cooperation

The relationship between Singapore and Indonesia has prospered, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and visiting President Joko Widodo noted at their fourth Leaders' Retreat on Tuesday (Oct 8), as they expressed the hope that ties will grow stronger in the next five years.

"We both reaffirmed our commitment to continue strengthening our mutually beneficial relations between our two countries," Mr Widodo said at the press conference, quoted by The Straits Times.

He and Mr Lee also noted with satisfaction that economic links between both countries have steadily expanded over the years, with cooperation in trade, investments and tourism growing from strength to strength.

The retreat is a long-held tradition in which leaders and ministers meet informally each year to discuss ways to strengthen ties. Image: The Straits Times/Mark Cheong
The retreat is a long-held tradition in which leaders and ministers meet informally each year to discuss ways to strengthen ties. Image: The Straits Times/Mark Cheong

Singapore has consistently been among the top investors in Indonesia, and has been the largest foreign investor in Indonesia since 2014, with realised investments reaching US$9.2 billion (S$12.7 billion) in 2018. Both countries have also consistently been among each other's largest sources of tourist arrivals.

Several pacts were also inked between both countries, witnessed by the leaders.

The first was the Agreement between Indonesia and Singapore on Electronic Data Exchange to Facilitate and Secure Trade, which will link the one-stop e-Customs facilities, commonly known as national single windows, of both countries. It seeks to bring about a seamless, paperless and secure business environment for bilateral trade.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witness as Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat sign a memorandum of understanding during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat at the Istana on Oct 8, 2019. Image: The Straits Times/Mark Cheong
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong witness as Indonesian Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat sign a memorandum of understanding during the Singapore-Indonesia Leaders’ Retreat at the Istana on Oct 8, 2019. Image: The Straits Times/Mark Cheong

The second was a Memorandum of Understanding on Archives Cooperation between the National Archives of Singapore, which is under the National Library Board, and the National Archives of Indonesia. It aims to deepen knowledge of the history, culture and heritage on both sides.

The third was the renewal of a US$10 billion currency pact, which will help support monetary and financial stability in the region.

Both countries will continue to have access to each other's currency as well as US dollars, to settle trades or defend their currency in times of financial stress.

President Halimah Yacob met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo before the SUSS Convocation Ceremony on Oct 9, 2019. Image: MCI
President Halimah Yacob met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo before the SUSS Convocation Ceremony on Oct 9, 2019. Image: MCI

Indonesian President Joko Widodo also met President Halimah Yacob on Wednesday (Oct 9), reaffirming the "long-standing and excellent relations" between both countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a press statement, reported by Channel News Asia. 

Both presidents met at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), where Madam Halimah was presiding over the convocation in her capacity as patron of the university. Mr Widodo was attending his youngest son’s graduation from SUSS, also reported by Good News from Southeast Asia.

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