The government needs to seize the momentum of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bali by taking a leading role in the talks that will determine the future of the economic grouping, a business advisory says.
APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Indonesia executive director Amin Subekti said Indonesia could take the lead in preparing any draft policies to be discussed at the summit. Taking this leading role was crucial as Indonesia was developing into a very important nation in the Asia Pacific region, he said.
“We have no other choice now but to seize this momentum by making the right decisions. Not only because we are the host of the APEC Summit this year, but also because we are a country in the region that has maintained economic growth above 6 percent and has an abundance of resources,” Amin said in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Citing data from notable business consultant McKinsey, Amin said Indonesia today was the world’s 16th largest economy. Of its 242 million people, 45 million of them could be categorized as consumers. The country also offers a US$0.5 trillion market for consumer services, agriculture, fisheries, resources and education. According to McKinsey, by the end of 2030, the country will be the world’s seventh-largest economy with 135 million consumers providing a $1.8 trillion market.
“Our role and decisions in APEC will affect a wide range of business issues, from trade and investment liberalization, labor mobility, access to finance, ease of doing business, infrastructure, food and security, services, and many others in the future,” Amin added.
He said that ABAC Indonesia had priority agendas that would be brought to the fourth ABAC Meeting and ABAC Dialogue with Leaders on how to deepen regional economic integration, promote infrastructure and sustainable development, foster small- and medium-enterprise development and promote development and integration of financial markets.
The world is looking to APEC for engine of global growth because the Asia Pacific region has demonstrated its resilience in the wake of the most recent financial crisis.- President Yudhoyono at the APEC CEO Summit 2012, Russia.
The priority agendas were important for the APEC CEO Summit as well because there would be around 1,100 top business delegates representing global businesses in the summit, Amin said. He added that the country played a substantial role both in the APEC and global arena since the recent shift in economic growth to Southeast Asia.
The chair of ABAC and APEC CEO Summit Wishnu Wardhana echoed Amin’s statements, saying that leading APEC and seizing the momentum was crucial for Indonesia and APEC to grow in the long run. Wishnu added that it was more crucial this time as there were new leaders in Australia, China, Malaysia, Mexico and South Korea.
As for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, it would be his last chance before he ends his term next year.
“Every dialogue and policy that we make in APEC will define the future economy of Indonesia and APEC members,” he said.
Established in 1989, APEC represents 40 percent of the world’s population, 54.2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 43.7 percent of global trade. (Nurfika Osman, The Jakarta Post)