The Future's Bright, But Still Work to Be Done: AmCham-US Chamber Investment Summit
A spirit of optimism for the future of foreign direct investment in Indonesia emerged from the 10th annual US-Indonesia Investment Summit on Dec 6, but it was also felt there is still much work to be done, with a call for Indonesia to continue its economic reform program, particularly in key areas such as the digital economy, public health, energy transition, and financial services.
Part of AmCham Indonesia and the US Chamber of Commerce's long-standing Initiative Indonesia program, the Summit, themed Reaping the Benefits of Reform, heard key remarks from Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Chair of the Board of Commissioners of the Financial Services Authority (OJK) Mahendra Siregar, former Minister of Trade and Chair of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Thomas Lembong, and was opened by US Ambassador Sung Kim. Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Uno also took part.
One particularly engaging panel saw Dr Lies Dina Liastuti, President Director of the prestigious Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital, outline ambitious plans to upgrade the national health system by allowing foreign doctors to practice in Indonesia and foreign healthcare companies to operate hospitals. She said foreign expertise is needed for public health improvements. She said her hospital, which is owned by the government, would soon partner with foreign hospital groups.
The Summit, held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, saw the release of Resilient Indonesia, the 2022 US-Indonesia Investment Report, the Initiative's annual take on the Indonesian investment climate, this year produced in conjunction with USAID.
In presenting the report to OJK Chairman Mahendra Siregar, AmCham Board Chairman Scott Hanna said it “was our most optimistic report ever.”
The report makes recommendations on enhancing Indonesia’s economic reform efforts, including: improve government coordination for regulatory certainty, promote inclusive policymaking for effective regulatory frameworks, accelerate equitable development, and rationalize local content policies to ensure competitive enterprises.
“Indonesia’s successful hosting of the B20 and G20 Summits has provided momentum to the commercial relationship with the United States”, said John Goyer, Executive Director for Southeast Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce. “Now is the time to capitalize on that momentum.”
“Indonesia has made real strides under President Joko Widodo in regulatory reform and infrastructure in recent years,” said AmCham Indonesia Managing Director A Lin Neumann. “But there is still a lot of work to be done on legal certainty, education, health and other areas. We are here to offer our support.”
In his welcoming remarks, Hanna spoke of the importance of finally being able to meet with people face-to-face after the pandemic. He said Indonesia and the world had done an "amazing job pivoting during the pandemic."
Ambassador Kim also spoke of the importance of mobilizing sustainable investment in Indonesia for the growth of the 21st century global economy, the huge success of the G20 summit in Bali, the necessity for a swift and just transition to renewable energy, and the importance of maintaining the US and Indonesia's "shared values" for continued economic growth.
The Summit’s closing remarks were given by Minister Luhut, who offered an upbeat assessment of the economy.