Indonesia-Canada diplomatic relations formally began when the two countries signed an agreement to open diplomatic missions in their respective capitals on October 9, 1952. However, relations between the two countries started in 1948, during Indonesia's struggle to gain international recognition for its independence from its former colonial power in 1945.
Canada, through General Andrew McNaughton as the President of the United Nations' Security Council, helped to break the deadlock in the negotiation on resolving the conflict between Indonesia and the Netherlands that resulted in the adoption of Resolution 67/1949, which endorsed the establishment of a Tripartite Commission to hold negotiations with Indonesia and the Netherlands. The Tripartite negotiations lead to the international recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty in December 1949.
At the initial stage of Indonesia's independence, Canada also supported the development in Indonesia's development effort through the Colombo Plan during the 1950s.
Indonesia-Canada Cooperation in Political Affairs
The Indonesia-Canada Bilateral Consultation Forum started in 30 July 1997 when Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Ali Alatas and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Canada, Loyd Axworthy signed the Joint Declaration on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultation Forum. The Forum served as a platform for Indonesia and Canada to discuss and cooperate on diverse issues ranging from politic, economic and socio-cultural affairs where both countries share the same concerns. The first meeting of the Forum took place in Mei 2011 in Ottawa while the second was held in Yogyakarta in June 2012.
As a highlight of the 60th Anniversary of Indonesia-Canada Diplomatic Relations in 2012, both countries signed the Joint Declaration on Enhancing Bilateral Consultations which elevates the BCF to a more strategic level where the forum shall be convened at the Ministerial level on an annual basis or as appropriate. The bilateral relations then moved to a more comprehensive partnership through the launch of the Indonesia-Canada Plan of Action 2014-2019 during the 4th BCF in August 2015 in Jakarta. The Plan of Action is a road map for enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries in various areas ranging from politics, defense and security, economics, development, socio-cultural, science, technology and education to other strategic areas for Indonesia and Canada.
President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met on the margins of the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey in November 2015 where both leaders discussed the importance of deepening both countries relations and shared the same values on democracy, human rights, religious freedom and pluralism. Later in September 2017, Vice President Jusuf Kalla met with Prime Minister Trudeau at the United Nations in New York where both leaders discussed the situation in Myanmar and what collaboration may be possible to help end humanitarian crisis in the country. Both Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and Canada had met several times to discuss bilateral issues. The recent meeting of the ministers was in Montreal, Canada, September 2018 when Minister Retno Marsudi met with Minister Chrystia Freeland in the 1st Women Foreign Ministers Meeting. At The Senior Officials Level, official from Global Affairs Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia met in April 2018 in Jakarta to discuss bilateral issues.
Furthermore, political cooperation between the two countries is also performed by the legislatives. Indonesia-Canada established the Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group (CIPFG) on 27 April 2009 which was then revived in October 2012 through the signing of the Joint Declaration between Indonesia-Canada Parliamentary Group and Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group. From then on, members of parliaments of Indonesia and Canada frequently exchanged visits annually and cooperate on international parliamentary forums. Both parliaments worked together and actively participated on the 4th Inter-Parliamentary Union Global Conference of Young Parliamentarians held in Canada in November 2017. In December 2017 members from the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, House of Commons Canada have visited Indonesia to conduct a meeting with the First Committee of Indonesia's House of Representative as well as some Indonesia Cabinet ministers. In November 2018, members of the First Committee of Indonesia's House of Representative met with their Canadian counterparts in Ottawa.
Indonesia and Canada also worked together on regional and international forums where both countries shared common interests such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), G20 and the United Nations. Indonesia and Canada also lend mutual support in other international forum where both are member countries. Moreover, Indonesia also contributes actively in promoting the strategic role of ASEAN and further enhanced existing partnership between ASEAN and Canada through ASEAN Committee in Ottawa (ACO).
Bilateral trade relations between Indonesia and Canada in the last 5 years can be further seen in numbers through the table below:
Indonesia-Canada Trade Balance Period 2014-2018 (USD million)
|Export to Indonesia||1,836||1,420||1,101||1,332||1,493|
|Import from Indonesia||1,376||1,307||1,223||1,333||1,259|
Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, www.ic.gc.ca
During the last 5 years, trade volume between the two countries had reached its highest number on 2014 at USD 3,212 billion. Although bilateral trade volume of Indonesia and Canada decreased in 2015 and 2016 to USD 2,727 billion and USD 2,324 billion respectively, Indonesia succeed in gaining trade surplus of USD 122 million in 2016. In 2017, trade volume between the two countries increased to USD 2,665 billion while at the same time Indonesia gained trade surplus of USD 1 million to Canada. Indonesia-Canada trade volume continues to increase gradually as it reached USD 2,752 billion in 2018.
Indonesia's main export commodities to Canada are rubber and rubber articles, woven apparel and clothing, mechanical and electrical appliances, footwear, furniture, cacao, coffee to name a few. Meanwhile, Indonesia imports wheat and cereals, fertilizers, electronic equipment, alumunium and ores from Canada.
Categorizations on Indonesia and Canada's main trade products in 2017 are shown through the table found below:
Canada-Indonesia Merchandise Trade Data 2017
|No.||Imported Products from Indonesia||||Exported Products from Canada|||
|||Products Classification||%||Products Classification||%|
|1.||Rubber and Rubber Articles||13.99||Cereals||33,28|
|2.||Electrical Machinery and Equipment||11.93||Woodpulp; paper or paperboard scraps||28.28|
|3.||Woven Clothing and Apparel Articles||10.55||Fertilizers||18.60|
|4.||Knitted or Crocheted Apparel||10.04||Aircraft and Spacecraft||2.99|
|5.||Foowear||6.94||Boilers, mechanical appliances, etc||2.56|
|6.||Boilers, mechanical appliances, etc.||4.97||Ores, slag and ash||2.48|
|7.||Cocoa and Cocoa preparations||4.20||Fish, crustaceans, molluscs||2.03|
|8.||Coffee, tea, spices, etc.||3.50||Electrical machinery and equipment||1.77|
|9.||Fats, oils and waxes||3.35||Optical, medical, scientific, technical instrumentation||0.96|
|10.||Furniture and stuffed furnishings||3.09||Aluminium and alumunium articles||0,88|
Source: Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (www.asiapacific.ca) from Trade Data Online, Industry Canada
Based on Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board report, Canada's foreign direct investment realization in Indonesia in the last 4 years are as follow:
| ||2014||2015||2016||2017||Jan-Sep 2018|
|Total Investment||164,2 ||103,46||99,8||85,7||122.15|
Source: Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal/BKPM RI)
Based on Canada's total investment and projects realization in 2018, Canada ranked 30th as FDI source country in Indonesia.
Indonesia is currently ranked 2nd as Canada's FDI destination in Southeast Asia with investments mainly channeled to energy and mining, financial services, infrastructure and IT sectors.
The Embassy of Indonesia in Ottawa continues to actively promote Indonesia's economic potentials and as a promising investment destination to Canadian business communities. The Embassy has been actively working its economy diplomacy's engine by organizing a wide range of activities, including through one of its annual biggest event, the “Indonesian Festival". The Indonesian Festival is held every year and recognized as an integrated Trade, Tourism and Investment (TTI) program in purpose of not only promoting Indonesia's main trade products and generating better awareness on the country's tremendous tourism spots, but also to showcase its multiculturalism through beautiful cultural performances to Canadians.
The Embassy of Indonesia also holds forums particularly dedicated to business communities and related government officials and agencies. Indonesia Business Forum and Indonesia Investment Forum serve as platforms for business matching among associated groups and a forum to know updated business and investment policies and regulations in Indonesia from notable speakers and field experts. The Forums try to bring different main themes each year such as Renewable Energy (2017) and Creative Economy (2018) in reflection to booming economic sectors in the country.
Economic co-operations between Indonesia and Canada widely range to different other sectors including development, forestry, agriculture, fisheries and manpower/labor and show both countries' efforts in putting their bilateral relation to its ultimate potentials.
Education, Socio-Culture and Tourism
The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia continues to facilitate cooperation in higher education between Canada and Indonesia. Several education collaboration programs have been undertaken, such as programs between McGill University and the Ministry of Social Services of the Republic of Indonesia (signed in 2014), University of Ottawa and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia (signed in 2015), McGill University and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia (signed in 2015), and Carleton University and the Ministry of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia (signed in 2016).
Every year, Indonesia offers Darmasiswa scholarship program to students across Canada, a one-year study program organized by Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture which focuses on socio-cultural and language education since 1987. As of 2018, Darmasiswa scholarship has been awarded to 81 students from Canada. In addition to Darmasiswa, Indonesia also offers the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship (IACS), a three-month program of training and education on Indonesian arts and culture.
The Indonesian Embassy actively participates in various cultural events particularly in National Capital Region and Quebec in order to showcase the presence of Indonesian culture to the public. The Embassy also continuously supports Indonesian communities across Canada as well as Friends of Indonesia in their efforts to promote Indonesia's culture through various events and community festivals. Social cultural activities include, among others, participation in the celebration of Asian Heritage Month, Canada Day cultural parade in Montreal every 1st of July, and providing supports in various multicultural festivals in Quebec City and Fredericton.
Indonesian tourism has been increasingly attractive for Canadian tourists. Over the last five years, the number of Canadian tourists visiting Indonesia has been consistently increasing 10% each year in average, from 65.358 (2013), 68.432 (2014), 74.212 (2015), 86.804 (2016), and 96.139 (2017). The Embassy of Indonesia continously promotes Indonesian tourism through many promotion channels, ranging from participation in Tourism Shows (Ottawa Travel and Vocation Show and International Tourism and Travel Show), as well as joint promotions with Indonesian communities and Friends of Indonesia across Canada.