US Business Ties Grow Closer

(Jakarta) The US-ASEAN Business Council is completing a five-day business mission to Indonesia today that includes 45 delegates from 20 prominent American companies. The mission, led by President of the US-ASEAN Business Council Matthew Daley and Chairman of the US-Indonesia Business Council Robert Haines, visited Batam before arriving in Jakarta on Tuesday.

The delegation is visiting Indonesia to hold meetings with public and private sector leaders to discuss trade and investment opportunities and concerns. Delegates of the mission are underscoring that they see the Government of Indonesia is gaining traction on investment, trade, tax, energy, transportation, health and information and communication technology policies.

"Our visit comes at an auspicious time when the US-Indonesia relationship is moving in a positive direction,” said Mission co-leader Matthew Daley on Thursday. He added, “In our meetings with senior government officials we have noted that the bilateral relationship serves as a backdrop against which companies may choose to expand their operations in Indonesia. The commitment of these American investors has never wavered, but now they see that the Government has found its direction and is beginning to take important actions to encourage investment here. It is the right time to look at investment opportunities in Indonesia."

The delegation met with a wide range of government officials including Vice President Yusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister for the Economy Dr. Boediono, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister for Trade Mari E. Pangestu, Minister for Transportation Hatta Radjasa, Chairman of BAPPENAS Paskah Suzetta, and State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman. Meetings are also scheduled with the Secretary of the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Sumaryono, Minister of Industry Fahmi Idris, and State Minister for State Owned Enterprises Sugiharto. The delegation has also met with the private sector, including the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) and the American Chamber of Commerce. On Sunday and Monday, the group was in Batam where they met with the Governor of Riau Islands Ismeth Abdullah and Ir. Mustofa Widjaja, Chairman of the Batam Industrial Development Authority (BIDA) and toured the J. Ray McDermott Southeast Asian fabrication facility and marine base.

Robert Haines, mission co-leader, said on Thursday, “This very large delegation is an indication that American companies are interested in investing here. Our positive attitude has been reinforced in particular by the Government’s handling of the fuel subsidy, VAT and DMO reimbursements in the energy sector, anti-corruption initiatives, the Aceh Peace Process and the handling of tsunami relief efforts. We look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Indonesia on improving the investment climate”.

An additional focus in the delegation’s meetings was public-private partnerships. In these partnerships, U.S. companies are supporting initiatives developed by the Government of Indonesia to address such common concerns as reconstruction in Aceh, and health nationwide. “We are working closely with our Indonesian colleagues and experts helping them to accomplish what they believe is needed,” said Leslie Mancuso of JHPiego.

The companies represented on the mission include: AIG, the Boeing Company, BP, the Coca-Cola Company, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., FedEx Express, Ford Motor Company, General Electric International, GlaxoSmithKline, Hewlett Packard, IBM Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, JHPIEGO, McDermott International, Microsoft Corporation, Oracle Corporation, HM Sampoerna, and Uplift International.

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.