Wed, 25 Mar 2009
From: The Jakarta Post
By Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Around 40 leaders of foreign chambers of commerce and industry have pledged to stay investing, or even expanding their businesses, in Indonesia despite the global economic crisis.

The investors said they promised to expand their business and work together to weather the global economic crisis on the government’s promises.

“They say Indonesia is one of the world’s best kept secrets We don’t live here because we have to. We live here because we want to ... because we believe in Indonesia,,” said Peter Fanning chairman of the International Business Chamber.

Sharing similar view, vice Jakarta Japan Club president and chief executive officer Marubeni Indonesia Komuro Seiji said not only would Japanese investors would maintain, “but also expand our business activities in Indonesia”.

The pledge comes with a request to the government to immediately fix flaws to help improve the business and investment climate.

“Things discussed in the meeting generally related to consistency and transparency of regulations. They (business communities) gave few examples,” Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said Tuesday on behalf of the government after two hours and a half of meeting at the State Palace.

She said foreign investors addressed about how many regulations made by the central government clashed with those made by regional administrations, or about inconsistency in regulations made by different government institutions.

“We have repeatedly said we are committed to fixing this issue, and we are fixing (this),” said Mari.

The meeting was led by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and also attended by numerous cabinet ministers, especially on the economy, and National Police chief Gen. Bambang Hendarso Danuri, as well as Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) chairman Mohamad Suleman Hidayat and his Kadin colleagues.

The business players, Mari said, also demanded the government to solve ambiguities in a presidential regulation that governed businesses that were open and closed to foreign investment.

The list is required under the 2007 Law on Investment and governs a total of 338 business sectors, including 69 sectors that would be more open than before and 11 becoming more restrictive.

“The revision (of the regulation) is actually underway and we have discussed this with them,” she added.

She said foreign investors demanded more sectors to be open, but no specific sectors were requested in the meeting.

“We’re always balanced (when it comes to determine which sectors should be open or closed). (The decision relates to) job creation, efficiency improvement, etc,” said Mari.

“If there are sectors that we limit, there must be national interests involved,” she added.



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