Getting Private on TIFA Sidelines

Business breaks bread with trade negotiators in Jakarta

By AmCham Staff
Friday, May 18, 2018

AmCham Indonesia took a leading role in bringing the private sector together with government trade negotiators from Indonesia and the US on Monday, May 14, at a luncheon held to mark the 17th edition of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.

Titled “Focus on the Future,” the event gave leading businesses from the two countries a chance to interact with the Heads of Delegation for the TIFA meeting, Karl Ehlers, the Assistant United States Trade Representative; and Iman Pambagyo, the Director General for International Trade Negotiations for Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade. The two officials, joined by their teams, provided an overview of the issues under negotiation during the one-day bi-lateral session held at the Shangri-La hotel in Jakarta.

The lunch event was under the auspices of the US-Indonesia Investment Initiative of AmCham and the US Chamber of Commerce and was co-sponsored by the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN Indonesia), the Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO) and the US-ASEAN business Council.

The organizers took the occasion to emphasize the positive benefits of trade and investment and to set a tone of cooperation between the two countries.

“By working together, we can accomplish more than by working apart,” said Diono Nurjadin, a leading businessman and Vice Chairman of KADIN Indonesia for the Americas.

In their opening remarks, the Chairman of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Tom Lembong, and the Chairman of APINDO, Hariyadi Sukamdani, noted that with major business organizations from both countries joining forces to foster greater trade and investment activities, the prospects for economic cooperation are good.

"Today we do not ask you [the government] to change the laws and policies, however we ask you to assist us in realizing effective business conduct between our two countries," said Hariyadi, who called for greater public-private collaboration to foster a more conducive investment climate in Indonesia.

In his opening remarks, AmCham’s President Brian Arnold expressed his interest in welcoming foreign investment into Indonesia’s education sector, something that he believes can benefit Indonesia’s future. 

Speakers from both the government and the private sector of both countries discussed the opportunities for Indonesian companies to expand into or to invest in the US, as well as issues related to the creative economy sector — focusing on film and the visual arts specifically—and for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — focusing on the fintech and startup industry. 

AmCham's Managing Director, A Lin Neumann, closed the business luncheon with an appreciation of the positive trends of opening up in trade and investment in Indonesia, which he believes would bring greater growth for Indonesia. He said that the opening of the film sector to greater foreign investment in 2016 is finally starting to bear fruit in the form of co-productions and other activities.

“It is gratifying to see what is happening in film. I hope we the same kind of progress in areas like education and health care in the future,” Neumann said.

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