Seeking Continuity: 11th AmCham Indonesia Investment Summit
The song remains the same was very much the message as presidential candidates Ganjar Pranowo and Anies Baswedan addressed the 11th US-Indonesia Investment Summit – Mapping the Legacy, Navigating the Future – held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta, on Oct 24.
The annual summit, hosted by AmCham Indonesia and the US Chamber of Commerce, examined both the legacy of President Joko Widodo in creating a more investor friendly climate for foreign direct investment (FDI) and future potential under the next administration. The 2023 US-Indonesia Investment Report – Progress and Greater Promise Ahead – was also released at the summit.
US Ambassador to Indonesia Sung Kim set the tone for the day when he praised both the progress made under President Widodo in making Indonesia an attractive destination for FDI, and the vast opportunities ahead in continuing his legacy.
"In the 11 years of the US Indonesia Investment Initiative there has been so much progress, and the latest report could not have come at a better time," Kim said. "There is enormous untapped potential for commercial relations between the US and Indonesia following the important reforms of the omnibus Job Creation and Health Laws."
AmCham Chairman Douglas Ramage also praised the steady pace of investment climate reforms under President Widodo, saying it provided a very hopeful environment for investors.
Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto was also clear that the work on welcoming FDI and improving the investment climate would continue, no matter who is the next president.
"We hope the US will become the number one investor in Indonesia, and US-Indonesia relations will become even more strategic in the future. Let's work together for a better Indonesia and better relations between the people of Indonesia and the US."
John Goyer, the US Chamber's Executive Director for Southeast Asia, said the US-Indonesia commercial relationship had seen a sharp uptick in US FDI since the first investment report, and looked forward to this continuing under the next administration.
Ganjar, the former governor of Central Java, said if he is elected he hopes to continue welcoming FDI to Indonesia by addressing the challenges of legal certainty in regulations, and going after the many opportunities for collaboration in the energy transition, down-streaming critical minerals, ocean resources and infrastructure.
Former Jakarta Governor Anies echoed the importance of good governance and legal transparency, calling for greater regulatory openness, and said he was committed to continuing to have macroeconomic and fiscal policy run by skilled technocrats in line with the government's direction for medium- and long-term economic development.
Sandiaga Uno, Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy, closed the event with a positive message on future FDI, which very much mirrored the mood in the room throughout the day.
"The US is the number four foreign investor in Indonesia. I hope you make it to number three, the top three, because we need your investment. I believe US investment brings capital, good governance, technical know-how and best practices.
"Everybody [who is standing for president] is focusing on continuity of policy. Two out of the three stand for continuity, and one advocates for change, but when you dig down to the policy level, it all stays the same."
Another theme of the day was the departure after 11 years of AmCham Indonesia Managing Director A Lin Neumann, with numerous tributes paid both on and off stage, including Ambassador Kim thanking him for his "outstanding leadership," and Goyer saying the US Chamber would "miss you very much."
The AmCham Board of Governors presented Lin with a plaque commemorating his tenure with AmCham.