“Portugal and Indonesia have a common past forged by Portuguese contact with the region, which has left an enduring legacy we seek to translate into dynamic relations,” Portuguese Ambassador to Indonesia Rui Carmo said on Monday evening.
Speaking during a diplomatic reception to celebrate Portuguese National Day, Carmo added that the two countries were motivated to strengthen dialogue and mutual understanding aimed at fostering closer links between the civil societies of both countries.
“Thereby, giving a fresh impetus to our academic, scientific, cultural and touristic ties, as well as to our economic relationship likely to generate more business opportunities,” he said in a speech.
While other countries focus their national days on the struggle for independence or other political milestones, the Day of Portugal, Camoes and the Portuguese Communities, focuses on Portugal’s greatest poet, Luis de Camoes, who died on June 10, 1580.
Camoes composed Os Lusiadas (The Lusiads), an epic poem about Portugal’s achievements of finding a sea route to India and the rest of Asia.
Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo was the evening’s guest of honor representing the Indonesian government. Tjahjo, however, did not deliver a congratulatory speech but instead presented a congralutatory plaque to Carmo.
Carmo, who is also accredited to ASEAN, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines, said that being a part of the European Union, Portugal had a dynamic, open and investor-friendly economy with privileged connections to Europe, the United States, Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
On the other hand, Portugal was also committed to creating new partnerships with Indonesia and Southeast Asia, he added.
Carmo also said businesspeople from both countries had to do more in each country.
“We must look ahead and make extra effort to increase business opportunities for both sides,” he told The Jakarta Post.
The ambassador, who presented his letter of credence to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in January 2017, also urged people from both countries to learn the other’s language and make visits to gain a better understanding.
Separately, the Portuguese Embassy’s deputy chief of mission, Pedro Marcelo Curto, told the Post that a number of Portuguese agricultural products had entered the Indonesian market, such as olive oil and oranges.
“But Portugal is also a hi-tech, knowledge-based country, so we can also offer Indonesia opportunities other than those commodities,” he said.
“A Portuguese engineering company already has a presence in Indonesia through a merger with a local company.”
He also said another unspecified project was being discussed at the bilateral level.
“We also have supplied maritime radars for Indonesian naval warships,” Curto said, referring to EID SA, a company that focuses on electronics, communications and command and control.
Also in attendance at the reception were Foreign Deputy Minister AM Fachir and undersecretary to the Jakarta governor for population control and settlement, Syahrul Effendi, as well as those from the diplomatic circle, especially those from the Lusophone countries.
Guests at the event were pampered with various Portuguese dishes, such as caldo verde, espetada de carne, cataplana de marsco, arroz doce and pudim abade de priscos.