Dumai, Riau. Indonesian businesswoman Shinta W. Kamdani was awarded the prestigious Commander of the Order of Leopold title from the Belgium government on Wednesday (13/09) at the Belgium Embassy in Jakarta, in appreciation for her contribution to improving and maintaining trade between Indonesia and Belgium.
The Order of Leopold is one of three Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood. It is the highest order of Belgium and is named in honor of King Leopold I.The Commander of the Order of Leopold award — given to recipients for a meritorious service of immense benefit to the Belgian nation — was presented by Belgian Ambassador to Indonesia, Patrick Hermann.
"It is an honor for me to receive the highest award from the Belgian government. This award also shows that the Belgian government will always support and put [place emphasis] on the sustainability of economic cooperation between the two countries. Belgium has also chosen Indonesia as the main [recipient] of their economic mission in the Southeast Asia region since last year," Shinta said in a statement on Thursday.
Shinta — who is also the president director of Sintesa Group and a deputy chairman for international cooperation at Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) — was also previously awarded an Order of the Polar Star by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf in May this year.
In June, Shinta was awarded the Order of the Star by Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano.
The Belgian government also granted the awards to former minister and current pulp and paper producer Sinar Mas Group president commissioner, Saleh Husin and Kadin chairman, Rosan Roslani.Strengthening Ties
Bilateral relations between Indonesia and Belgium was first established in 1947 when Belgium along with Australia and the United States joined the Commission of Three Nations as mediators to solve any ongoing dispute between Indonesia and Netherlands concerning Indonesian sovereignty.
In 1949, Belgium became one of the first European countries that recognized Indonesia's independence. The bilateral trade between both countries amounted to $1.61 billion last year, recording $634 million in surplus for Indonesia.
Last year, the realized investment from Belgium in Indonesia amounted to $7.44 million. Realized investment between Belgium and Indonesia amounted to $132.9 million between 2011-2015.
Indonesia's exports to Belgium includes footwear products, clothing, furniture, voice recorders, synthesis thread, tires and coffee. Meanwhile, Indonesia's imported products from Belgium, partly chemical products, concentrated milk, compressors, recycled paper, vaccines, butter, and truck.
Meanwhile, Indonesia's imported products from Belgium include partly chemical products, concentrated milk, compressors, recycled paper, vaccines, butter and trucks.
In October this year, Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo will travel to Brussels, Belgium, to open the 2017 Europalia Arts Festival Indonesia, with Belgium's King Philippe. The festival is a biennial event, organized by the Belgium government to showcase art and culture of selected guest countries.
Indonesia is the eighth country outside of the European Union that has been selected as a guest country since its first festival held in 1949. Kadin Indonesia and its partners in Belgium will also hold a business meeting to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.