Jokowi Meets Biden in DC, US Tech Giants to Help Nusantara Become Smart City, New Forestry Carbon Trading Scheme, Food Commodity Prices Rise, MUI Clarifies Fatwa
Nov 15, 2023
Jokowi Meets Biden
President Joko Widodo met with US President Joe Biden during his visit to Washington, DC, on Nov 13. The two leaders discussed deeper cooperation on bilateral trade and economic policy through the US-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) and US support for Indonesia’s full membership in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition, US support through the US Trade and Development Agency and USAID’s mission to develop sustainable infrastructure and innovative smart-city solutions in the new capital city Nusantara were discussed.
Other initiatives include further public-private partnerships in Indonesia’s clean energy transition, a new Defense Cooperation Agreement, and US-Indonesia cooperation in the critical minerals value chain. Indonesia was the only country invited to the White House before the APEC Summit 2023 in San Francisco, which ends on Nov 17, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said.
President Widodo also met with Freeport McMoran Chairman Richard Adkerson to discuss the company's investment expansion and mining business permit extension. Freeport’s 20-year mining permit extension and downstream investments topped the agenda, which President Widodo expects to be finalized by the end of November.
The President also signed a $25.85 billion business deal with President Biden, involving ExxonMobil and the carbon capture storage (CCS), petrochemical, and green energy industries. In addition, during the same trip, Pertamina agreed to share information with Chevron to potentially develop either CCS or carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) sites in East Kalimantan. The US became the fourth largest investor in Indonesia this year, Interim Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Erick Thohir said.
The new capital city Nusantara (IKN) Authority signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three US technology giants: Cisco, Autodesk, and Environmental System Research Institute Inc (ESRI) at Silicon Valley, San Francisco on Nov 13. This collaborative effort is intended to contribute to making the project a smart city, IKN Authority Deputy for Green and Digital Transformation Muhammed Ali Berawi said.
Cisco will help install smart city devices including sensor technology networks and the Internet of Things (IoT) for collecting, transmitting and utilizing data and information. Autodesk will contribute to designing infrastructure and city operations. While ESRI will participate in spatial-based analytical technology used for mapping, monitoring, remote sensing and spatial data management, providing benefits for natural resource management.
Ali also said it is not only US companies who have shown interest in this collaboration, but also companies from other countries such as South Korea and China.
Commodities including chili, sugar, eggs and cooking oil have seen price increases due to unequal production throughout the country, said Acting Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture Prihasto.
Chili prices experienced the most significant increase, with a 10.89 percent increase for large red chilies to Rp 58,550 per kg. The price of sugar has risen by 2.15 percent to Rp 16,600 per kg, eggs by 0.87 percent to Rp 28,850 per kg, and cooking oil by 0.24 percent to Rp 20,950 per kg.
Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan said that the increase only happens occasionally and could help to reduce farmers’ financial losses. The National Food Agency (Bapanas) plans to transfer chilies from regions experiencing a surplus in production to those experiencing a deficit. The prices of other staples such as rice, meat and bulk cooking oil remain the same.
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has moved to clarify media reports on a fatwa against support for Israel in the Palestinian conflict, saying products that have met halal requirements and are certified according to applicable law and regulations will still be considered halal.
"From my understanding, the MUI fatwa does not forbid its [Israel's] products but forbids actions that support Israel," said Muti Arintawati, MUI Executive Director of the Assessment Institution of Food, Drugs and Cosmetics (LPPOM) in a written statement on Nov 11.
Indonesia has launched a carbon trading scheme for the forestry sector, with 600 companies holding Forest Utilization Licenses (PBPH) partly included in the scheme, Indonesian Association of Forest Concessionaires (APHI) Indroyono Soesilo said. He added that PBPH holders must draft a Mitigation Action Plan Document (DRAM) before being included in the National Registration System, after which an Emissions Reduction Certificate (SPN) will be issued which can then be traded in the carbon exchange.
The Indonesian carbon market is intended to facilitate the sale of carbon credit certificates to be issued for projects and activities that eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Ministry of Forestry and Environment Regulation 7/2023 outlines 22 mitigation measures companies can take such as reduction of peat and mangrove land, promoting sustainable forest management, and reducing the deforestation rate of mining areas. Potential revenue from carbon exchange in the forestry and land sector could reach $565.9 billion and be able to absorb 113.18 gigatons of carbon.
The environment ministry’s Utilization Business Work Plan (RKUPH), aims for carbon absorption and collection through the Forest and Other Land Uses (FOLU) sector. Some 72 PBPH holders have registered for carbon absorption activities, 32 of which have been approved, according to the environment ministry. Indonesia requires a minimum of $14 billion, 55 percent expected to come from private investors, to reach its FOLU Net Sink Targets by 2030.
Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin has advised the public to remain calm after the number of monkeypox (mpox) cases rose to 44 nationwide. Despite the increasing numbers, Budi said the disease is primarily transmitted sexually and does not spread as rapidly as Covid-19.
As of Nov 14, Jakarta had recorded 34 cases, with 16 cases recovered and one cured, according to the Jakarta Health Agency. Some 17 patients remain in isolation.
The Health Agency said patients require two to four weeks of treatment before they are cured. Individuals who have had close contact with mpox patients are advised to take a test as soon as possible, especially those experiencing symptoms.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.
Stay safe, call a doctor if you have a high fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Stay healthy above all else.
AmCham Update is AmCham's regular newsletter on developments related to the pandemic crisis and other issues in Indonesia. It is edited by AmCham Managing Director A Lin Neumann and written by the AmCham Staff. Paul L Goddard.