Indonesia is a vast market with more than 260 million people. We need to take this as leverage in establishing mutually beneficial economic cooperation at the bilateral, regional and global levels
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Economic diplomacy has become the priority in Indonesia's foreign policy for the 2019-2024 period. To conduct economic diplomacy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has compiled several strategic steps including capitalizing on the strengthening of the Indonesian domestic market.

"Indonesia is a vast market with more than 260 million people. We need to take this as leverage in establishing mutually beneficial economic cooperation at the bilateral, regional and global levels," Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said in Jakarta, Tuesday.

Another issue that Indonesia needs to be on the lookout for, is protecting the domestic market from products that enter the market illegally or by dumping, or foreign subsidies – as a result of the current low global economic growth, she said.

The second measure required in economic diplomacy is the strengthening of the traditional market and breakthroughs in the non-traditional market.

Diplomacy will continue to play its role in strengthening strategic and mutually beneficial economic cooperation with traditional Indonesian markets, Marsudi further said. Meanwhile, breakthroughs will also be undertaken to penetrate more non-traditional markets.

After entering the African market, through the 2018 Indonesia-Africa Forum (IAF) and the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue (IAID) 2019, Indonesian state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and private businesses will continue to work closely with their counterparts in Africa, especially in trade of goods and services, as well as investment, including infrastructure development and construction in the region.

"Similar measures are also being taken with other non-traditional regions, including Latin America, South Asia and Central Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific," said Marsudi who has been appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs by President Joko Widodo for his second term in office.

The third step is the strengthening of trade and investment discussions.

To strengthen market access, in the next five years the completion of various trade negotiations such as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTA) with various countries will be accelerated and its benefits to Indonesia's national interests and as well as the partner country will be ensured.

The next step is the integrated promotion of trade and investment while boosting outbound investment.

Promotions abroad will be done in synergy and in line with the improvement of the business climate and investment in the country, both at the national and regional levels to produce concrete results.

"It is time for Indonesia to expand its outbound investment policy that is in synergy with national economic interests, as the state-owned enterprises and private sectors in the country are expanding," she said.

Going forward, various bilateral investment agreements will also focus on fairly protecting Indonesia's investment abroad.

Indonesia will also increasingly focus on sectors with added value, by developing ecosystems and policies that support the development of the natural resource processing industry.

Diplomacy will also work towards encouraging export-oriented seeded products, as well as encouraging the financing of infrastructure projects and strategic industries abroad.

As for the fifth step, diplomacy will be optimized to safeguard the strategic interests of Indonesia's economy, one of which concerns palm oil.

The interests of Indonesian oil palm are fundamental because they involve the livelihoods of 16 million people, especially small farmers and their families, according to Marsudi.

"We will continue to reject various discriminatory actions aimed at palm oil, not only because it is detrimental to national interests, but because it also threatens the fulfillment of vegetable oil needs of the majority of the world's population, which meets the criteria of the Sustainable Development Goals," she said.

The sixth and final step, it is to encourage economy 4.0 which includes the digital industry, the creative economy, and natural resource development.

The policy that has promoted economic policy 4.0 is needed to both, increase the productivity of various Indonesian industries and offer greater access for the lower middle class to the international market.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa/Aria Cindyara
Editor: Gusti Nur Cahya Aryani
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