Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia in Virtual ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, 25 October 2021 at Bogor Presidential Palace, West Java Province

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 25 Oktober 2021
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Excellencies ASEAN Leaders,

Distinguished Businesspersons of the region.

After 20 months of facing the daunting COVID-19 pandemic, we now see a beacon of hope. In the past week, the number of COVID-19 cases in ASEAN dropped by 14 percent, far exceeding the global average which fell by 1 percent. The situation will certainly build up ASEAN internal and external trust to resume activities and to speed up economic recovery. However, we must remain vigilant considering the increase in cases in a number of countries.

In dealing with the current pandemic, we not only want to recover but also to seize the opportunity to undertake structural reforms for an inclusive and sustainable economy in the ASEAN region.

This is a great opportunity that we can grasp. In Indonesia, the efforts to tackle the pandemic do not deter us from carrying out structural reforms. Indonesia has enacted Omnibus Law, Job Creation Law to improve investment climate aimed to boost inclusive economic growth that will generate more employments. We also amended the taxation law with the same goal. We intend to carry on these structural reforms and respond to our institutional weaknesses and our work ethics during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we make the best use of the formidable challenge of the pandemic to strengthen ourselves in facing future challenges.

I hope it also applies to Southeast Asia region. As a united economic community, ASEAN as a region must learn from the crisis and make a fundamental self-improvement at the regional level.

Excellencies ASEAN Leaders,

Distinguished Businesspersons,

Our common vision, spirit of collaboration, and unity in action are the main keys to ASEAN economic revival.

First, health care must remain our top priority. Our short term agenda to speed up vaccination and equally distribute vaccines in all countries in the region must be implemented immediately. We must achieve the target to vaccinate 70 percent of ASEAN population as soon as possible. The Government and businesspersons need to join hands in synergy to make joint efforts. As for medium-term agenda, the ASEAN needs to establish health crisis protocols to make the region more resilient to future health crisis.

Second, we must speed up economic recovery in ASEAN through reactivation of safe travels, including safe tourism. According to UN-WTO, the level of restriction implemented in Southeast Asian countries is the highest in the world which is at 82 percent. As the COVID-19 situation is getting more under control, the restrictions could be relaxed, as well as the mobility, while still ensuring the safety from the risks of pandemic.

The ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework initiated by Indonesia last year must be soon implemented. Recognition of vaccine certificates in the region including interoperability of vaccine system must be approved immediately. Travel regulations for vaccinated individuals who are declared healthy and tested negative for COVID-19 need to be established, namely the regional Vaccinated Travel Lane. If all countries in ASEAN immediately facilitate a safe mobility of people, the economic drive can be stimulated.

Indonesia has also gradually re-opened Bali for safe tourism with strict health protocols. Indonesia re-opened Bali after fully vaccination rate in the province reached 84.8 percent. Indonesia will also gradually re-open other regions with fully vaccination rate of more than 70 percent.

Third, adaptation of regional economic activities toward digital economy must be accelerated in all countries. Digital technology is the most effective solution to make up for limited mobility and in-person interactions in our people’s economic activities. As a region with the world’s fastest internet growth, ASEAN has enormous digital economic potential. During the pandemic, digital economy grew by US$100 billion in 2020. This could be a stepping stone for economic growth in our region.

Indonesia supports ASEAN to become a digitally connected community. The Indonesian Government has drawn up the Digital Indonesia Roadmap for 2021-2024, a strategic guideline for Indonesia’s digital transformation. Indonesia’s digital economic value is very promising. It is estimated at US$124 billion in 2025, equivalent to 40 percent of the total value of Southeast Asia’s digital economy.

To date, Indonesia has 2,229 of startup companies, the fifth largest in the world. Indonesia also has one decacorn and six unicorns. We are also welcoming investment opportunities as much as possible in Indonesia’s digital economic sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The ASEAN’s economic will not only recover but also it can make leaps of progress and grow together in a just and sustainable manner. Our collective swift actions in handling health issues, reactivating safe travels, and speeding up a fair digital economy are our common gateway to recover and make advancement.

I thank you. (RAS/MUR)

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