The Foreign Office has announced a new trade partnership with Indonesia to create a generation of “technopreneurs”, providing a signal of how post-Brexit Britain intends to look beyond the EU in developing economic ties.
Britain's Asia Minister Alok Sharma MP, will unveil the plans during his trip this week to Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. The project will fund training for young scientists and engineers in the area and is part of a wider package of measures to forge closer ties between the countries in developing science and technology.
“South East Asia is a key region for the UK," said Sharma in advance of his trip.
"We are natural partners, with the regional powerhouse economies, and in addition to trade, already work closely on areas from peace and security to science and technology."
Sharma also indicated that the agreement was an example of how post-Brexit Britain may function.
“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we have a unique opportunity to become a global leader in free trade and to intensify our trading relationships with this dynamic region," he said.
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Sharma's trip will see him finalise a collaboration agreement between the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering to provide £80,000 of training and innovation grants for Indonesian “technopreneurs”.
Indonesia is already a partner in Britain's £375m Newton Fund, which aims to promote research and innovation cooperation with partner countries and communities.