US-ASEAN Business Council Brings Largest Delegation of Top American Firms in its 35 year History to Meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo and His New Cabinet

(Jakarta, Indonesia) – The US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) brought a delegation of 46 American companies, the largest delegation to Indonesia since the US-ABC was founded in 1984 and tying the record for the largest delegation to any country, to meet President Joko Widodo and representatives of his new cabinet during its 2019 Indonesia Business Mission from 3-5 December. A 6 December Business Mission to the ASEAN Secretariat will follow the Indonesia Business Mission.

The almost 100 executives who participated in the three-day mission met with key Government leaders across 18 agencies. However, the highlight came on Thursday, 5 December when the companies met with President Jokowi and heard first hand the details behind his ambitious plans for Indonesia including his 5 priorities, his reform of the investment laws and the new omnibus laws. President Jokowi’s focus on reform of government regulation and procedures for licenses were particularly well received.

“We were excited to hear that President Jokowi’s vision for his second term is focused on improving the business climate ensuring Indonesia’s economic success during our visit to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta today,” Alexander C. Feldman, CEO and President of the US-ABC said. “Our members were keen to learn more details about the President’s objectives for human capital, infrastructure, improving the ease of doing business by streamlining regulations, simplifying the government structure and cutting barriers to investment. A ‘positive’ investment list and the omnibus law on tax, which will take Indonesia’s corporate tax rate to 20% by 2024, also caught the attention of our business delegation. Our members are committed to being strong partners in Indonesia’s sustained economic growth under President Jokowi’s leadership over the next five years.”

Feldman co-led the mission with US-ABC Indonesia Committee Chair LV Vaidyanathan, President Director, PT. Procter & Gamble Home Products Indonesia; US-ABC Indonesia Committee incoming Chair, Batara Sianturi, Chief Executive Officer of Citi Indonesia; and USABC Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director Ambassador Michael W. Michalak.

“Last year, the US-ABC signed an MOU with Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to further promote economic relations and foreign direct investment in Indonesia. In the face of global uncertainty, our members see great value in Indonesia as a vibrant commercial market. Foreign direct investment in Indonesia jumped 17.8 percent year-on-year to USD 7 billion in the September quarter of 2019,” said Ambassador Michalak. “As the government of Indonesia continues working with the United States government to support trade and investment, our business communities will also be working together to resolve challenges and find new opportunities to expand the commercial relationship.”

“I thank the Indonesian Government for the continuous dialogue and engagement with the US-ABC. In the last 5 years, there have been a number of improvements to facilitate ease of doing business to support new investment and business expansion,” said LV Vaidyanathan, President Director, PT. Procter & Gamble Home Products Indonesia and Chairman of the Council’s Indonesia Committee. “There continues to be areas of opportunities for ongoing engagement to make Indonesia competitive. We look forward to continuous dialogues.”

“Citi has been in Indonesia for 51 years. As a country, Indonesia is an important franchise for Citi. As the fourth most populous country in the world, the largest economy in ASEAN, coupled with a growing middle class and a tech savvy population, Indonesia is often seen as one of the next global frontiers for e-commerce, which is an important emerging segment for Citi,” said Batara Sianturi, Chief Executive Officer for Citi Indonesia and incoming Indonesia Committee Chair. “Indonesia’s digital economy is forecast to grow from $40 billion in 2019 to a staggering $133 billion in 2025, the largest in ASEAN. In just half a century, Citi Indonesia has grown to become one of the largest foreign banks in Indonesia, employing about 3,000 people. Increasingly, we are delivering our full suite of banking solutions to various client segments on our digital platforms. Citi has introduced a number of digital firsts in the country covering Consumer and Institutional banking, such as ATMs and electronic banking in the 1980s, One Bill in the 1990s, e-PIB in the 2000s, and CitiDirect BE and Smart branches in 2010s and API connectivity with fintech/e-commerce players in the past year. These innovations have enabled growth and progress for our clients. Citi’s network in 100 countries, including in ASEAN and APAC, brings FDI connectivity into Indonesia. In addition, we are one of the largest players connecting global capital market portfolio investors into Indonesia. Citi remains committed to innovation and to connecting global opportunities, and is well positioned to be part of the Indonesia growth journey.”

The highlight of the delegation’s visit was a meeting with President Joko Widodo on Thursday, 5 December. In addition, the US-ABC delegation also had the opportunity to meet with the following Cabinet members and senior members of the Government:

  • Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD
  • Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani
  • Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto
  • Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim
  • Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Wishnutama
  • Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif
  • Minister of Law and Human Rights Yasonna Laoly
  • Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziah
  • Minister of Communication and Informatics Johnny Plate
  • Minister of Research and Technology Bambang Brodjonegoro
  • Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung
  • National Cyber and Encryption Agency Head Hinsa Siburian
  • Governor of Jakarta Anies Baswedan
  • Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs Deputy V Bambang Adi Wisarno
  • Bank Indonesia Deputy Governor Mr. Sugeng
  • Ministry of Health Director General of Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Engko Sosialine Magdalene

Companies participating in the delegation included Agoda, AIG, Amazon, Apple, BowerGroupAsia, BP, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Citi, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Diageo, Disney, Expedia, ExxonMobil, Facebook, FedEx, Freeport-McMoRan, GE, Gilead Science, Google, Harley-Davidson, Herbalife Nutrition, HP Inc., IBM, JUUL Labs, Marriott International, MasterCard, McLarty Associates, Netflix, Oracle, PayPal, Pernod Ricard, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm, Salesforce, Sampoerna/Philip Morris, Sanofi, SAS, Scowcroft Group, Udemy, UL, United Technologies, Varian Medical Systems, Visa, and VMware

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For over 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.