“I often wonder nowadays where Australia’s Asia dream has gone. At one point, Australia was pushing hard to be considered a part of Asia. That ambition is disappearing.”
As companies look to move production out of China, they are largely bypassing Indonesia in favor of nimbler neighbors such as Vietnam.
Indonesia’s economic growth has barely moved in three quarters, prompting some analysts to cast doubt over the data.
What was Factory Asia has made a subtle shift to a consumer-driven Market Asia under the “world’s biggest trade deal”.
In the Central Java province of Indonesia, amid a patchwork of rice fields and farms where sugar and indigo crops once dominated, garment factories are now bustling.
As Santo Darmosumarto, director of the East Asia and Pacific division of Indonesia’s foreign ministry, said: “For a long time we have looked north; to Japan, Korea and China, and so has Australia, but in both looking north we have missed each other.”