"The top investment destination is Indonesia, followed by Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia."
Siem Reap (ANTARA NEWS) - Indonesia is seeking to become an investment center in the ASEAN region.

The country`s chief of investment coordinating board (BKPM), Chatib Basri, said here on Tuesday Indonesia would strive through a variety of breakthroughs to attract investors and improve its investment atmosphere.

"Our focus is attracting investment and boosting economic growth. The ASEAN Investment Forum that Indonesia initiated is aimed at assuring investors that ASEAN especially Indonesia is a right place to invest in," he said on the sidelines of the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministerial Meeting.

Chatib said to improve the investment climate and eradicate obstacles Indonesia would implement a tracking system in which investors would be able to monitor their license processing and know when exactly their license would be issued.

"This is part of BKPM`s efforts to cut red tape and improve transparency to give investors certainty. The tracking system for license issuance will be implemented this year," he added.

Indonesia and Southeast Asian countries, he said, would continue to improve themselves to become investment destinations.

He said although debt crisis still continued in Europe it was hoped it would not reduce investors` interest in investing in the region.

He said among the incentives offered by the region is its market of 600 million population with a total income reaching US$1.85 trillion with Indonesia being the biggest contributor with its almost 250 million population.

"(We, however) must also understand that globalization and ASEAN free trade are not only about foreign markets but we could only take a benefit out of the ASEAN economic integration," he said.

He said he had never thought before that many Indonesian businessmen had invested in countries such as Cambodia or bought foreign companies.

"According to the law BKPM is also assigned to facilitate national investment abroad, secure Indonesian investment abroad and those have been among the agenda of the current meeting of ASEAN economic ministers. We made agreements at the ASEAN Investment Forum," he said.

ASEAN secretary general Surin Pitsuwan had earlier said that Southeast Asia along with India, China, South Korea and Japan have not only become the world`s biggest consumer markets but also centers of the world`s R&D and are owners of the world`s largest natural resources and the world`s richest investment sources.

"Do not forget, Indonesia has now become a top automotive producers` center of R&D. Daihatsu, for example, has its design like that of Xenia made by the Indonesian R&D. Every month Daihatsu sells 900 units of cars with Indonesian characteristics designs," he said.

BKPM deputy for investment cooperation Achmad Kurniadi said some time ago the value of foreign investment in ASEAN in 2010 reached the highest at US$75.8 billion.

The biggest source of funds was the European Union reaching 22 percent, followed by Inter-ASEAN sources reaching 16 percent, Japan 11 percent and the US 11 percent.

He said the achievement was boosted by the value of foreign investment flows which was very high reaching US$35.5 billion in Singapore, US$13.3 billion in Indonesia, US$9.1 billion in Malaysia, US$8 billion in Vietnam.

Based on the result of an ASEAN-Business Advisory Council survey of 2011-2012 Indonesia was ranked the highest in investment competitiveness among the ten member of ASEAN.

Fifty percent out of 405 respondents surveyed chose Indonesia as their main investment destinations in the region, he said.

Following Indonesia was Vietnam (46 percent respondents), Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Brunei was in the last positio chosen by 17 percent of respondents.

"The top investment destination is Indonesia, followed by Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia," according to ASEAN-BAC analyst Marn-Heong Wong from Singapore`s National University.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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