On June 4, 2022, Indonesia, a powerhouse nation with a growing population of 270 million, joined the Apostille Treaty, marking the 61st anniversary of the treaty’s accord.
Created in 1961 at the Hague Convention in the Netherlands, the Apostille Treaty currently has 121 signatory nations—participating in a simplified process for transborder documents. The apostille system greatly reduces the red tape required for vital transactions. Pharmaceutical approvals, shipping documents, academic records, adoption papers, powers-of-attorney—all these transactions benefit from the streamlined apostille process. Largely replaced has been the traditional methods of legalization requiring Embassy review and approval of documents.
Today, any document having both origination and destination in apostille countries can be authenticated in one step. Traditional legalization can take up to several weeks—or in some cases months—under Covid restrictions.
The work of the Hague Convention, however, remains incomplete. Indonesia’s signing of the Apostille Treaty signals a milestone for a treaty which has yet to attract the approval of countries as diverse as Canada, China, Egypt, Vietnam, and Saudi Arabia.
Underscoring the significance of this event, is Indonesia’s presence in the global pharmaceutical market. Pharmaceuticals and medical devices comprise a significant portion of transborder documentation. In 2021, Indonesia ranked as the largest market in the ASEAN regions, with a value of USD $10.11 billion.
The road to the Hague was a long one for Indonesia. The Hague Convention itself, little known in most circles, has a storied past, dating back to the 1890’s and including matters of diplomacy that range from arms control and rules-of-war to cross-border adoptions. The Apostille Treaty has been among its most successful contributions to international relations and global trade.
In recent times, its application has shifted largely to pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Highly regulated to protect the public, pharma has become a fully globalized industry. Transborder mergers and acquisitions mark a commercial landscape where manufacturing is frequently off-shored and medicinal products are then distributed to countries around the globe.
For Indonesia, the move to apostilles promises to improve the business climate. By offering this time-and-cost-saving method, the giant South Pacific nation intends to enhance its competitive position.
And for companies and individuals doing business in Indonesia, life just got easier.