U.S. Businesses Engage the Indonesian Government on Boosting Cooperation around Trade and Investment

(Jakarta) - A delegation of 41 leading American companies from a cross section of industries visited Jakarta from March 13-15, concluding its visit to Indonesia today. The group was comprised of more than 85 senior executives and was organized by the US-ASEAN Business Council. Over the course of the mission, the delegation held more than thirty meetings including President Joko Widodo, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Coordinating Minister Luhut, Coordinating Minister Wiranto, key members of the cabinet and other senior government officials, as well as representatives of the Indonesian business community from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO), and the KADIN United States Committee (KIKAS).
 
The delegation was co-led by the Council’s Indonesia Committee Chair, Madhusudan Gopalan, President Director Procter & Gamble Indonesia; Alexander C. Feldman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council; and Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council.
 
“President Jokowi’s strong leadership and dedication to stimulating the Indonesian economy has generated great interest from American companies; and his successes have been reflected by the country’s investment grade rating upgrade by two major credit rating agencies, and a significantly improved ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report,” said Mr. Feldman. “Over the past three and a half years, through 16 economic reform packages, Indonesia’s deregulation efforts have boosted investor confidence and resulted in the expansion of American investment in Indonesia. We hope to build upon this momentum by providing an avenue for private sector feedback and partnering with the Government.”
 
The delegation engaged with the government to learn more about the administration's plans for increasing trade, encouraging investment, and enabling inclusive economic growth. During the meetings, the delegation discussed the importance of further improvements to the investment climate, good regulatory practices, regulatory simplification, and intellectual property protection. The delegation is also looking to forge new partnerships like the BKPM MoU to continue work on these critical issues after the Mission has concluded.

“We are especially excited about our new MoU with BKPM, which will lead to increased collaboration between our business communities,” said Ambassador Michalak. “The American business community looks forward to expanding its commercial ties with Indonesia, and we hope this will help bring President Jokowi one step closer to achieving his goal of further improving Indonesia’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 72 to 50 or below by 2019.”
  
The highlight of the delegation’s visit was a meeting with President Joko Widodo on March 13. In addition to Vice President Kalla, other key officials the Council delegation engaged during the visit included:

  • H.E. Luhut Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs
  • H.E. Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal & Security Affairs
  • H.E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance
  • H.E. Rudiantara, Minister of Communication and Information Technology
  • H.E. Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of Industry
  • H.E. Yasonna Laoly, Minister of Law and Human Rights
  • H.E. Hanif Dhakiri, Minister of Manpower
  • H.E. Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade
  • H.E. Budi Karya Sumadi, Minister of Transportation
  • H.E. Tom Lembong, Chairman of BKPM
  • Mr. Perry Warjiyo, Deputy Governor of the Bank Indonesia
  • Mr. Arcandra Tahar, Deputy Minister of Energy & Mineral Resources
  • Mr. Leonard Tampubolon, Deputy Minister of Economy Affairs, BAPENNAS
  • Dr. Sri Adiningsih, Chairperson, President Advisory Council

The Council delegation began their mission with senior officials of the U.S. Embassy, and featured a workshop with the International Tax Directorate led by the Director of International Taxation, John Hutagol. Mission participants also joined a business luncheon with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and the Indonesia Employers Association (APINDO). 
 
“Procter and Gamble (P&G) as the world’s largest consumer goods company has been in Indonesia since 1989, with the purpose of improving the lives of more Indonesian consumers in more parts of Indonesia. We continuously invest in building the right infrastructure, including local manufacturing, as well as retaining and developing the finest Indonesian talents. Today, we have also achieved a 50:50 equity of female and male managers, in line with our aspiration to promote Gender Equality. At the plant, almost 40% of our technicians are women. In recent years, we've made significant investments in line with our optimism and commitment to the growth potential of this great country," said Madhusudan Gopalan, Chair of the Indonesia Committee and P&G's President Director for Indonesia.

“President Jokowi’s leadership and administrative reform are an encouraging signal that the government is taking positive steps to accelerate growth and strengthen our optimism about the long-term opportunity that Indonesia represents. The Council’s 2018 Business Mission helped P&G and the 40 other companies in our delegation to continue building long-term relationships with the Indonesian Government and Indonesian business leaders.”

The importance of robust Indonesian and American support for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was also on the agenda. The Indonesia Business Mission was preceded by a one-day engagement with the ASEAN Secretariat, where 12 U.S. companies met with the newly-appointed Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi and other ASEAN leaders. ASEAN has received almost $274 billion in cumulative investment from the United States, more than the US has directed to China, India, Japan, and South Korea combined. Since 2004, U.S. Foreign Direct Investment in ASEAN has increased by an average annual rate of 12%, and now accounts for over a third of US investment into Asia. Throughout both Business Missions, the American business community reaffirmed their support for regional growth and ASEAN’s overall economic integration agenda.

Companies participating in the delegation included 21st Century Fox, 3M, Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Archer Daniels Midland, Bechtel, BP, Chevron, Cigna, Citi, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, eBay, Expedia, ExxonMobil, FedEx, Fragomen, Freeport-McMoRan, Harley-Davidson, Honeywell, HP Inc., IBM, Jhpiego, Johnson & Johnson, Mars Inc., Mastercard, Novartis, Oracle, Pfizer, Phillip Morris International, Procter & Gamble, RGA, Rio Tinto, Sanofi, Seagate, Sequoia Capital, TE Connectivity, Time Warner, UPS, and Visa.

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For more than 30 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 150+ membership generates over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people. 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.