Magazine article Business Asia

Manzie Quick to Meet Jakarta's New Order

Magazine article Business Asia

Manzie Quick to Meet Jakarta's New Order

Article excerpt

The Suharto regime is gone in Indonesia, but the Northern Territory is eager to maintain its business friendship with its neighbour.

The Northern Territory is pushing ahead with trade projects in Indonesia despite the recent overthrow of long-time business ally President Suharto.

Minister for Asian Relations, Trade and Industry Mr Daryl Manzie recently returned from Jakarta confident that business ties would remain strong.

Mr Manzie's NT delegation visited Indonesia a couple of weeks after the overthrow of President Suharto.

The trip was designed to shore up the the Northern Territory's good relationship with Indonesia.

"`We wanted to ensure that our relationships with people would continue and signify our support for the work that they are doing there ..." Mr Manzie said.

"It was good to be able to talk and see what their requirements are."

An atmosphere of "business as usual" was evident in Jakarta, according to the minister.

Importantly, democratic reforms were occurring to overcome business monopolies.

Mr Manzie met a number of Indonesian ministers on the trip and noticed a mood of change among the people.

"It was a very healthy feeling," he said.

"We saw small numbers of people demonstrating .... but it wasn't causing a problem. I was impressed that there seemed to be a commitment by all the ministers and the government of moving to make changes.

"There's a sense of optimism even though people know it's going to be very, very difficult for the next couple of years and the price of certain things is going to rise. There seems to be light at the end of the tunnel."

He said agricultural pilot programs had started in Indonesia to develop a high-protein soya bean. The project is being carried out with the assistance of Northern Territory experts.

In addition, Darwin could help fight likely rice and meat shortages towards the end of the year as an ongoing drought struck Indonesia. …

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