by Alex Longthorne.
The Liverpool City Region has clinched a deal that establishes new trading links with one of the leading "Pacific Tiger" economies of South East Asia. It is a partnership that foreshadows a major British Government commercial pact with Indonesia that will be announced in the New Year. Liverpool itself has also signed a "sister city" pact with Manado, a major Indonesian maritime trade hub that is billed as having much in common with the port city. On a visit to Liverpool a delegation of Indonesian Government officials and business leaders signed the historic agreement that paves the way for increased trade links.
Liverpool is at the forefront of the ambitious scheme that aims to double Britain's interests in Indonesia by 2015 and to open-up other markets in region. The collection of islands represents the largest economy in South East Asia - a market that has shown enormous growth and is expected to continue its expansion. The new deal makes Liverpool the first trade hub to become a European Gateway for Indonesian businesses, enabling collaboration in matters of culture, health, trade, tourism and education. Speaking at a reception at the offices of Hill Dickinson in St Paul's Square, the Indonesian Ambassador to the UK, who was appointed in April, spoke about his hopes for the future. His Excellency Teuku Mohammad Hamzah Thayeb said: "Economically the UK is looking more and more to Asia given the crisis in Europe. "In my eight months living in England I have learned that few people know a great deal about Indonesia. "This agreement connects Liverpool to the Pacific Region and Indonesian mainland. "There are no immediate plans for us to have an office here, but if we are to move the partnership forward then we would like to open such and office." Liverpool's new "Sister City" Manado, has a population of more than 500,000 and is the second-largest city on the large island of Sulawesi. The Mayor of Manado's representative, Lucky Londong said: "Our city is a strategically-placed hub. It is playing an important role in opening-up the Pacific and the rest of Asia. "So, if a Liverpool company has interests in Asia they can work through Manado." Liverpool-based business consultant Geoffrey Prince said: "The most important thing is the communication with Indonesia and the UK, and with Monado and Liverpool. We have a golden opportunity." Interim Head of Liverpool Vision Andy Snell credited the city's 2008 Capital of Culture year with drawing foreign interest. Mr Snell said: "There's a special DNA in the people of Liverpool. The city has proved itself. If there is one place in the world to do business it's Liverpool. "Our links with Indonesia are part of a major national event which will be launched by a senior minister in January." Following a formal signing of a "Memorandum of Understanding" on the new arrangements more work will follow elaborate the details of the new partnerships.