The 8th Annual US-Indonesia Investment Summit: Partners in Recovery concluded on Dec 11 with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan saying it was an exciting time to invest in Indonesia, as the “historic and significant” Omnibus Job Creation Law showed the government was keen to do all it can to attract foreign investors and boost the nation’s economy in response to COVID-19.
Luhut, who is also President Joko Widodo’s “COVID Tsar,” said Indonesians would start to be given the COVID-19 vaccine “before the end of the year” and vaccination programs would be “extensive” throughout 2021.
Earlier in the morning, Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G Plate, one of four of President Widodo’s ministers to speak at the three-day event, said ICT was a “significant foundation to recovery” from the pandemic, and that the government will allocate billions of dollars to accelerate wider internet access and communications infrastructure for Indonesians.
The virtual summit, part of AmCham and the US Chamber of Commerce’s Initiative Indonesia, began on Dec 8, with featured speaker Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati relating how the government was preparing policy and stimuli for “solid, sustainable and robust recovery” from the pandemic.
She also noted that Indonesia must continue its human capital development and improve its ease of doing business through the Omnibus Job Creation Law. She said that during the pandemic and beyond, economic recovery must go hand in hand with social protection and saving lives.
Suharso Monoarfa, Minister of National Development Planning/Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), opening the second day of the summit on Dec 10, said the government thought it vital to ensure the economy continues to run despite the pandemic by supporting businesses through tax breaks and subsidies, and that the acceleration of digitalization and e-commerce consumption as a result of the pandemic must be properly regulated.
US Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Kim, in conversation with AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann, told delegates on Friday morning, Dec. 11, that there is renewed energy in the US-Indonesia relationship – “we have the wind behind us” – but that there are challenges and obstacles to work through as trade between the two countries “should be much more.”
Other featured speakers included Charles Freeman, Senior Vice President, Asia from the US Chamber in conversation with Muhammad Lutfi, the Indonesian Ambassador to the US. Other speakers included Mahendra Siregar, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Rizal Affandi Lukman, Deputy for International Economic Cooperation, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs on behalf of the coordinating minister Airlangga Hartarto; and Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Vice Minister of State-Owned Enterprises.
Over the three days, there were a number of panel discussions on a variety of topics ranging from data privacy and the future of e-commerce to Omnibus Law implementation and Indonesia as a new sourcing destination.
Panelists and speakers included Scott Hanna, Chairman of AmCham’s Board of Governors; and John Goyer, Executive Director, Southeast Asia, of the US Chamber. Companies represented on the lively panels included ASEAN Business Partners, Cargill Indonesia, S&P Global, ExxonMobil Indonesia, Softex Indonesia/Kimberly Clark, Bower Group Asia, Pan Brothers, IBM, Ernst & Young, Freeport Indonesia, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) was also represented.