Indonesia convinces US businesses about its trade, investment

Jakarta  (ANTARA News) - Indonesia tried to convince 16 US companies regarding the steps it has taken to improve its trade and investment climate at the Economic Ministers Roundtable Meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday (as per local time, Wednesday in Indonesia).

Indonesia was represented by Franky Sibarani, the chief of the Capital Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), and Trade Minister Thomas Lembong, according to a press statement issued by the BKPM and received by ANTARA here on Wednesday.

Franky and Thomas Lembong elaborated upon the governments efforts to improve the investment and trade climate in Indonesia.

One of the matters that came into focus during the meeting was the governments decision to revise its Investment Negative List (DNI) and remove certain economic sectors from it.

The government announced its decision to revise the DNI last Thursday. Franky Sibarani said the revision of the DNI will provide ample opportunity to foreign investors to make investment in a number of economic sectors that were so far closed to foreign investment.

The sectors included pharmacy, creative economy (theater and films) and seaport facilities.

He stressed that the mention of seaport facilities mentioned in the DNI was revised to reduce logistic costs which were viewed as being too high.

"The opening of such business areas to foreign investors is expected to further cut down the logistics cost and induce efficiency in the country," said Franky.

According to him, the government has taken two main steps with regard to the DNI that could reduce logistics cost.

The first is related to distributors affiliated to production. They have been taken off the DNI and are now open to 100 percent foreign investment. Distributors which are not affiliated to production are open to the extent of 67 percent foreign investment, up from 33 percent previously.

The second step is related to land and sea transportation infrastructure, now opened further to foreign investment. These are expected to bring new technology and make the logistic system more efficient.

"So, five business sectors, namely port facilities, supporting terminals, air cargo expedition services, transportation facility services and air transportation supporting facility services will gain. Foreign ownership in these sectors will now be allowed up to 67 percent, up from 49 percent previously as regulated in Presidential Decree No. 39/ 2014," he said.

Frankly also touched on the Indonesian governments move to simplify its investment services by reducing the time taken for investment licensing to three hours, and ensuring direct construction investment facility.

He responded to the US investors who expressed their intention to know about raw material import procedures and the entry of professional expatriates to support the development of certain business sectors.

On the same occasion, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said the revision of the DNI opens wide opportunities for US companies to invest in the e-commerce sector in Indonesia.

Thomas also used the forum to explain the improvement in the countrys export and import trade policies.

The BKPM data showed that the United States is categorized as a priority country for marketing investment in Indonesia. In 2015, the value of the United States investment in Indonesia had reached US$893.2 million with 261 projects, mostly in the mining sector.

The US investment commitment is recorded at US$4.8 billion with 76 projects.(*)