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Collaboration can be Indonesia’s path to prosperity

2021-03-03 08:38:40 China Daily

With health issues the top priority during the pandemic, China and Southeast Asia have worked closely together in vaccine discovery and production.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected economic exchanges between China and most Southeast Asian nations, as suspension of air travel has hurt supply chains and logistics networks and caused various other difficulties.

However, there have also been some positive developments. With health issues the top priority during the pandemic, China and Southeast Asia have worked closely together in vaccine discovery and production.

In the new normal, the two sides should seek to maintain the momentum of established bilateral economic relations and also enhance mutual trust through improvements made to neutralize the negative issues that can hamper exchanges. At the same time, it is also necessary to increase health sector cooperation so countries can quickly escape the pandemic's impact.

In Indonesia, the economic downturn caused by pandemic lockdowns and uncertainties over the investment environment has proved challenging. In order to respond to the problems and lift the economy, Indonesian President Joko Widodo is prioritizing the development of a dynamic and hardworking labor force, and upgrading infrastructure to connect production areas with distribution areas, transforming a resources-dependent economy into one that relies on manufacturing and modern services.

To achieve these priorities, the president is simplifying administrative procedures and regulations through the Omnibus Law, which was enacted late last year to spur job creation.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative provides a platform for creating more infrastructure, which is crucial for a developing economy. Indonesia is one of the countries that has benefited greatly from the BRI. In the post-pandemic world, the demand for people-to-people connectivity is likely to surge. And for Indonesia, enhancing internal and external connectivity will remain key to improving economic conditions.

China has significant potential to fill this gap for Indonesia through the BRI. We need to bear in mind that China's aim to push BRI-related work in Indonesia and other developing countries has not been diminished by the pandemic.

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