Business connectivity was among the main factors to choose Batam as the venue for the 29th Workshop on Managing Potential Conflict in the South China Sea held on September 11 and 12, 2019, Pramono added.
In his analysis presented at the workshop, Pramono explained that the South China Sea poses both challenges and tremendous economic opportunity.
At the dawn of the "Asian Century", the region will be playing an important role as a provider of food and energy security for the future. The sea-lane of communications (SLOCs) in the South China Sea is also strategically important in supporting global businesses.
Indonesia, therefore, sees business collaboration and economic cooperation among the industrial parks in the region as a potential area for future cooperation in the South China Sea Rim.
There are about 1.600 economic zones in ASEAN, the majority of which are industrial parks. With the growing regional connectivity networks, thanks to the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity, many of the industrial parks are rigorously developed in the South China Sea Rim.
Industrial parks tend to be located near the sea because they need ports and other facilities for connectivity. This development deserves special attention for possible new areas of cooperation.
Cooperation among industrial parks is needed to foster economic growth and employment, to attract foreign direct investment, spur industrial dynamics, and improve confidence-building measures in the South China Sea, through business ventures, Pramono explained.
As such, the economies in the rim should promote business connectivity among these mushrooming industrial parks. It is thus important for the region to consider a South China Sea Rim Dialogue Forum for Industrial Parks.
Recently, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore inaugurated Nongsa Digital Park (NOP), in Batam, as an integrated digital park for IT companies and digital entrepreneurs from Indonesia, Singapore and Southeast Asian region.
The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center for South East Asian Studies.
It was attended by 54 experts in their personal capacities, from Indonesia, China, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. The workshop has been held annually in various cities in Indonesia since 1990.
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