Mon, 26 Oct 2015
When Indonesian President Joko Widodo meets Barack Obama in Washington Monday, they'll have plenty to discuss. Their agenda includes defense, climate policy, maritime cooperation and much else. Trade is there too -- and should go right to the top, because that's where both countries have most to gain.

Widodo's first year in office has been something of a disappointment, partly because expectations ran too high. (Obama may sympathize.) The new president hasn't been idle, but he's sent no clear message about the kind of economy Indonesia needs to become. Trade policy is the best way to deliver that message, and the U.S. is in prime position to help.

Indonesia isn't a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, recently concluded by the U.S. and 11 other partners. It ought to be. Seeking membership in TPP is a worthy goal in its own right and would announce, in the clearest possible terms, that Indonesia is open for business.

Indonesia's Nationalism

This will require a radical change in thinking. Indonesia's official attitude to trade has long been fearful and nationalistic. Onerous local-content requirements, as well as outright import restrictions, distort the economy and fuel inflation. To compete effectively with India, Vietnam and others, Indonesia needs a clear break from its traditional protectionist mindset.

While Widodo himself has been cagey, aides have declared that Indonesia hopes to join TPP within the next few years. Widodo himself should endorse that as a top priority. Membership would expose domestic producers to much-needed competition, and provide fresh opportunities in export markets. It would help Indonesia integrate its producers into complex global supply chains -- the sine qua non of industrial modernization.

Messaging aside, Widodo has taken tentative steps in the right direction. After Indonesia's growth slowed to 4.7 percent in the second quarter, and stocks and the rupiah plunged over the summer, he thoroughly reshuffled his economic team. Ever since, ministers have been pruning regulations and announcing new measures to make it easier to trade and invest.

The government has pledged to review its so-called negative list, which sets limits on foreign ownership. Widodo has talked about opening sectors such as e-commerce, which he claims could grow to as much as $130 billion in 2020, from $13 billion today.

These changes have been valuable, but piecemeal. They don't add up to a coherent program or a believable promise of more to come. And there's indecision -- for instance, over energy policy, where the government has just reversed an initial effort to liberalize prices.

Resistance to the cultural transformation that Indonesia needs is strong. Widodo has a narrow parliamentary base. He'll have a tough time challenging the vested interests that profit from trade barriers.

Hardest of all will be cutting the thicket of rules that make Indonesia's huge labor market one of the world's most rigid. The high cost of hiring and especially firing has stunted growth and raised unemployment. Allowing in more foreign managers and technical advisors -- rather than demanding that companies hire 10 Indonesians for every foreigner -- would help with training and encourage transfer of technology.

None of this will be easy -- but a clear commitment to TPP would help. It would signal Widodo's wider ambitions for the economy. It would apply extra pressure on forces resistant to change. And it would deliver tangible gains, in the form of better access to overseas markets, to the country's exporters.

A good headline to read after the presidents' meeting: "Indonesia declares its ambition to join TPP."



News Search/Filter
Transaction Rates
19 Jul 18
Buy
Sell
AED1
3,890.32
3,890.32
AFN1
196.14
196.14
ALL1
131.98
131.98
AMD1
29.76
29.76
ANG1
7,743.66
7,743.66
AOA1
56.27
56.27
ARS1
517.34
517.34
AUD1
10,572.38
10,572.38
AWG1
7,989.84
7,989.84
AZN1
8,393.46
8,393.46
BAM1
8,489.41
8,489.41
BBD1
7,144.93
7,144.93
BDT1
169.07
169.07
BGN1
8,499.80
8,499.80
BHD1
37,757.65
37,757.65
BIF1
8.06
8.06
BMD1
14,289.87
14,289.87
BND1
10,490.23
10,490.23
BOB1
2,067.58
2,067.58
BRL1
3,710.95
3,710.95
BSD1
14,289.87
14,289.87
BTC1
104,917,838
104,917,838
BTN1
208.17
208.17
BWP1
1,387.31
1,387.31
BYN1
7,182.67
7,182.67
BZD1
7,107.80
7,107.80
CAD1
10,851.01
10,851.01
CDF1
8.85
8.85
CHF1
14,306.82
14,306.82
CLF1
601,425.67
601,425.67
CLP1
21.88
21.88
CNH1
2,118.68
2,118.68
CNY1
2,126.91
2,126.91
COP1
4.98
4.98
CRC1
25.19
25.19
CUC1
14,289.87
14,289.87
CUP1
560.38
560.38
CVE1
150.41
150.41
CZK1
643.64
643.64
DJF1
80.28
80.28
DKK1
2,232.74
2,232.74
DOP1
287.04
287.04
DZD1
121.15
121.15
EGP1
798.38
798.38
ERN1
950.08
950.08
ETB1
514.57
514.57
EUR1
16,641.30
16,641.30
FJD1
6,833.16
6,833.16
FKP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
GBP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
GEL1
5,832.20
5,832.20
GGP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
GHS1
2,982.84
2,982.84
GIP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
GMD1
297.58
297.58
GNF1
1.57
1.57
GTQ1
1,907.42
1,907.42
GYD1
68.31
68.31
HKD1
1,820.63
1,820.63
HNL1
595.02
595.02
HRK1
2,250.40
2,250.40
HTG1
211.71
211.71
HUF1
51.30
51.30
IDR1
1.00
1.00
ILS1
3,929.36
3,929.36
IMP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
INR1
208.65
208.65
IQD1
11.98
11.98
IRR1
0.32
0.32
ISK1
133.73
133.73
JEP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
JMD1
108.92
108.92
JOD1
20,140.68
20,140.68
JPY1
126.67
126.67
KES1
142.13
142.13
KGS1
209.47
209.47
KHR1
3.52
3.52
KMF1
33.79
33.79
KPW1
15.87
15.87
KRW1
12.62
12.62
KWD1
47,164.10
47,164.10
KYD1
17,143.63
17,143.63
KZT1
41.40
41.40
LAK1
1.69
1.69
LBP1
9.45
9.45
LKR1
89.39
89.39
LRD1
88.72
88.72
LSL1
1,073.96
1,073.96
LYD1
10,411.70
10,411.70
MAD1
1,507.22
1,507.22
MDL1
856.81
856.81
MGA1
4.25
4.25
MKD1
270.24
270.24
MMK1
9.93
9.93
MNT1
5.85
5.85
MOP1
1,767.00
1,767.00
MRO1
40.19
40.19
MRU1
398.54
398.54
MUR1
413.59
413.59
MVR1
927.30
927.30
MWK1
19.67
19.67
MXN1
755.89
755.89
MYR1
3,520.10
3,520.10
MZN1
243.97
243.97
NAD1
1,074.02
1,074.02
NGN1
39.58
39.58
NIO1
450.16
450.16
NOK1
1,748.81
1,748.81
NPR1
130.11
130.11
NZD1
9,705.53
9,705.53
OMR1
37,119.15
37,119.15
PAB1
14,289.87
14,289.87
PEN1
4,367.98
4,367.98
PGK1
4,344.59
4,344.59
PHP1
267.27
267.27
PKR1
111.94
111.94
PLN1
3,859.98
3,859.98
PYG1
2.49
2.49
QAR1
3,924.71
3,924.71
RON1
3,574.96
3,574.96
RSD1
141.07
141.07
RUB1
226.71
226.71
RWF1
16.44
16.44
SAR1
3,810.32
3,810.32
SBD1
1,813.49
1,813.49
SCR1
1,055.42
1,055.42
SDG1
793.65
793.65
SEK1
1,612.39
1,612.39
SGD1
10,466.16
10,466.16
SHP1
18,688.29
18,688.29
SLL1
2.26
2.26
SOS1
24.65
24.65
SRD1
1,916.04
1,916.04
SSP1
109.69
109.69
STD1
0.67
0.67
STN1
675.64
675.64
SVC1
1,632.78
1,632.78
SYP1
27.74
27.74
SZL1
1,073.69
1,073.69
THB1
429.03
429.03
TJS1
1,517.71
1,517.71
TMT1
4,071.21
4,071.21
TND1
5,397.07
5,397.07
TOP1
6,183.18
6,183.18
TRY1
2,977.99
2,977.99
TTD1
2,119.70
2,119.70
TWD1
467.13
467.13
TZS1
6.26
6.26
UAH1
542.90
542.90
UGX1
3.81
3.81
USD1
14,289.87
14,289.87
UYU1
458.22
458.22
UZS1
1.83
1.83
VEF1
0.17
0.17
VND1
0.62
0.62
VUV1
131.43
131.43
WST1
5,520.45
5,520.45
XAF1
25.36
25.36
XAG1
222,407.23
222,407.23
XAU1
17,540,044.28
17,540,044.28
XCD1
5,287.55
5,287.55
XDR1
20,002.84
20,002.84
XOF1
25.36
25.36
XPD1
13,105,287.17
13,105,287.17
XPF1
139.45
139.45
XPT1
11,724,736.27
11,724,736.27
YER1
57.07
57.07
ZAR1
1,076.38
1,076.38
ZMW1
1,432.38
1,432.38
ZWL1
44.32
44.32
Taxation Exchange Rates
31 Aug 16 - 06 Sep 16
USD 1
13,232.00
AUD 1
10,043.30
CAD 1
10,213.70
DKK 1
1,999.40
HKD 1
1,706.22
MYR 1
3,283.28
NZD 1
9,623.63
NOK 1
1,605.23
GBP 1
17,433.70
SGD 1
9,757.68
SEK 1
1,569.45
CHF 1
13,631.10
JPY 100
13,101.00
MMK 1
11.01
INR 1
197.29
KWD 1
43,920.70
PKR 1
126.23
PHP 1
285.00
SAR 1
3,528.53
LKR 1
91.12
THB 1
382.08
BND 1
9,756.53
EUR 1
14,885.50
CNY 1
1,987.61

Okusi Associates: Indonesian Business & Management Services