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THE FLYING GEESE AND CHINA’S BRI IN INDONESIA

Siwage Dharma Negara and Leo Suryadinata
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Siwage Dharma Negara: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore
Leo Suryadinata: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

The Singapore Economic Review (SER), 2021, vol. 66, issue 01, 269-292

Abstract: In recent years, China has been catching-up with other advanced economies and become one of the “leading geese” in the Asian economy. China not only plays a leading role in regional production network but also in various regional economic cooperation. Indonesia, being one of the following geese, needs to adjust its position to benefit from this change in global and regional order. While other more advanced economies have less to offer, Indonesia has gradually moved closer toward China in terms of economic cooperation. Using the flying geese model, this paper argues that China’s BRI might change trade and investment trends in Indonesia. China BRI might complement the role of Japan as a catalyst for economic development in the Asian region in general and in Indonesia in particular. There is no official BRI project agreed by Indonesia so far. However, there are a number completed and ongoing China–Indonesia projects, which arguably might pave the way for future BRI investment. Currently, apart from the Jakarta–Bandung High speed railways, most of the projects are concentrated in resource-exploitation needed by China and the fulfilment of Indonesian development needs, such as power generation, mineral smelters and industrial parks. From the Beijing’s perspective, these projects are perceived as part of BRI. Since these so-called BRI projects have not been completed, it is therefore impossible to assess their impacts on Indonesia’s industrialization at this point. However, we can still argue that BRI might have initiated a new type of investment that might in turn change the industrial trends, structure and performance in Indonesia. If this change leads to improvement in products quality or value added, industrial upgrading, technological transfer and export boost, then one may argue that BRI has brought promised benefits to the host economy (i.e., Indonesia). Otherwise, the benefits would be negligible.

Keywords: China; Indonesia; Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); flying geese; trade; investment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1142/S0217590819410042

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