Leading up to the start of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community in 2015, Bali will likely become a major market for ASEAN member countries to sell their products and services.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) holds the goal of regional economic integration by the year 2015.
It will transform ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and free flow of capital in order to create a highly competitive economic region.
I Wayan Dipta, resources and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) deputy at the Cooperatives and SMEs Ministry, explained Bali was renowned as an international tourist destination with abundant jobs, and investment and market opportunities.
Bali is also growing as an attractive and well-equipped venue for international conferences, exhibitions, cultural and business meetings.
“Bali will be considered as the perfect market for many products as people from around the world come to the island on vacation and on business. All our ASEAN neighbors will see such a golden opportunity in Bali for the marketing and promoting of their products in Bali,” Dipta said.
Currently, ASEAN’s 10 member countries, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Laos and Myanmar, are working to make their products and services more competitive.
“Thailand is seriously seeking opportunities to market its spa products in Indonesia, especially in Bali, where spa establishments are numerous,” added Dipta.
Bali and other parts of Indonesia also produce spa products, such as body scrubs, essential oils, fragrant candles and soaps.
“But most of the products are homemade or made in small-scale industries. Indonesia needs to improve both the quality and quantity of its spa products in order to attain international standard quality,” he said.
Indonesian spa products must be registered with the Health Ministry to assure consumers of their health standards. Similarly, some countries in the region also produce and market handicrafts similar to those made in Bali or other parts of Indonesia.
In addition to spa products and handicrafts, Bali will become a haven for skilled laborers from ASEAN countries, especially professionals from Singapore and the Philippines who are more than ready to fill managerial posts up to CEO seats in the tourism and manufacturing sectors.
The government, he said, was now actively providing training, advocacy and facilities to boost SME industries across Indonesia, including in Bali.
At SME Tower in Jakarta, small-scale industries from 33 provinces in Indonesia are now displaying their creations and products. “The types of products are varied, each province has its unique and distinguished items that will please buyers,” he said.
I Wayan Gatra, head of Denpasar Industry and Trade Agency, felt optimistic that SMEs in the mayoralty would have the capability of joining the AEC with confidence. “I am pretty sure that the majority of our SMEs have already developed national and international business networks,” Gatra said.
In the last few years, Denpasar mayoralty has been supporting SMEs to improve their managerial, marketing and promotional efforts.
“We have been active in developing e-commerce, which allows all SME members to apply online business with clients all over the world,” Gatra said.
The development of professional websites has also enabled SMEs to clearly define their products and to attract potential buyers worldwide.
Other important matters are obtaining easy access to capital resources from various financial institutions, including cooperatives and the banking sector.
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