18
March

Indonesia and Australia have encouraged Indo-Pacific regional stability during their bilateral meeting held on the sidelines of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018 on Saturday.

"At the bilateral meeting, the two leaders warmly welcomed the plan of action for maritime cooperation and hoped that it could be implemented soon. They also hoped the discussion on communication and consultation on the concept of Indo-Pacific could be realized to create stability in the Indo-Pacific region," Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.


The bilateral meeting also serves as a conclusion of 2+2 meeting between foreign ministers and defense ministers of the two countries held the day before.


"In addition, we also discussed Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Although it has almost been completed, the negotiations have reached more than 90 percent, and several things still have to be discussed with Australia," she remarked.


Negotiations between trade ministers of the two countries will be held next month.


"Based on the report from the trade minister, he will meet again (with his Australian counterpart) in April to settle the remaining issues. Hopefully, the two countries will reach an agreement by the end of this year," she asserted.


At the meeting, the two countries also agreed to the principle of mutually beneficial cooperation in implementing the agreement.


"The first principle that must be agreed upon is that the CEPA must benefit both THE countries. The second principle is that CEPA is not only a commercial project but also a project of partnership and cooperation.


The third agenda of the bilateral meeting is digital Indonesia-Australia digital cooperation. (ANTARA)

18
March

Indonesia and Australia continued to foster their economic ties in the face of shifting of the economic center from the Atlantic to the Pacific region.


Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is on a visit to Sydney to attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit 2018, used the opportunity to have a bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Saturday.


On the sidelines of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, the Indonesian president addressed a CEO forum at the International Convention Center, Sydney, which was also attended by Turnbull.


At the bilateral meeting, Jokowi and Turnbull discussed the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). The last negotiation on IA-CEPA was conducted on March 6 and 7.


"There is progress, but it has not yet been fully achieved; the final result of the negotiations should ensure benefits for the two countries not only from the commercial aspect but also with emphasis on partnership and cooperation," Jokowi remarked.

The president also expected Australia to respond positively to various proposals for cooperation. "The cooperation includes work and holiday visas; higher education and vocational training; professional standards; industrial and agricultural development, including livestock; as well as apprenticeship programs for both students and professionals," he added.


The third bilateral issue discussed was the follow-up of the "Indonesia-Australia Digital Conference."

The follow-ups include improving the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), startups in developing digital innovations; developing Next Indonesia Unicorn; increasing digital literacy; and smart government initiatives to improve public services.


The meeting, which started at around 11:00 local time, discussed a number of issues, which are results of a 2 + 2 meeting held on Friday (March 16) between ministers of foreign affairs and defense ministers of both countries.


"I hope the signing of a maritime cooperation action plan can be implemented soon, and the two foreign ministers have also exchanged ideas on the concept of Indo-Pacific region architecture," the president stated.


After all, according to Jokowi, the global economic center has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific region. "All of us know that currently the gravitation center has shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific region. The highest trade value is in the Asia Pacific region," Jokowi revealed, addressing a group of business leader at the International Convention Center, Sydney, on Saturday.


"Who are they in the Asia Pacific? Certainly, there are Asia and India, and other South Asian countries; Middle East to the west of US; China, Korea, and Japan in the north; and Australia in the south. There are 10 member countries of ASEAN blessed with geographical position right in the middle of the gravitation," the Indonesian president revealed.

In the meantime, Turnbull praised Jokowi as an important role model. Turnbull heaped praises on the visiting Indonesian leader as a role model in guarding the spirit of diversity.

"Jokowi has succeeded in developing multi-culturalism, and this is also being developed in Australia. We are united by political values, democratic freedom, and mutual respect," Turnbull stated.


He asserted that in the past 40 years, the Pacific region has recorded economic growth, and there were no signs of slowing down."The IMF predicted that in five years, six of ASEAN members would grow faster than China, and all ASEAN members would grow faster than the United States and the European Union," he explained.



Turnbull and Jokowi were businessmen before becoming politicians; therefore, they could see the importance of companies, and the government could adopt a policy and issue regulation to support business expansion.


Moreover, according to Jokowi, amid the shifting of the economic center to the Pacific region, the number of middle-class people in the region is also on the rise. "There is significant growth in the middle class in Asia and Asia Pacific. For the time being, we must ignore the number of political issues carried in the front pages of newspapers, because the most important fundamental and historic development currently happening in the world is the growth of the middle class, which is continuing to increase in Southeast Asia," he revealed.


Jokowi underlined the growth of the middle class in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia as the economic power in the regions.


"The middle class and the youngsters are more interested in experiencing adventure rather than luxury goods. That is what has made tourism industry grow," he remarked.


Quoting Bloomberg data, he stated that the world`s economy only grows three percent a year, but the tourism industry has grown seven percent. Bloomberg predicts one of the four new jobs in the next 10 years to come from the tourism industry.


"Again, 25 percent of new jobs in the world will come from the tourism sector. This is an extraordinary opportunity for ASEAN and Australia to not only promote tourist destinations for the middle-class people in China and India but also to develop it as a big market for domestic tourism industry," he revealed.


Jokowi arrived in Sydney on Friday to attend the 2018 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, which will be held from March 16 to 18. (ANTARA)

18
March

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has underlined the growth of the middle class in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia as the economic power in the regions.


"There is significant growth in the middle class in Asia and Asia Pacific. For the time being, we must ignore the number of political issues carried in the front pages of newspapers, because the most important fundamental and historic development currently happening in the world is the growth of the middle class, which is continuing to increase in Southeast Asia," he said, in the presence of company leaders and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the CEO Forum of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit at International Convention Center, Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.

"There is one important thing that differs in the current cycle of growth of the middle class this time, which is digital economic development, in particular social media," he stated.

Digital economy and social media, according to Jokowi, have brought fundamental changes in consumption pattern.

"The middle class and the youngsters are more interested in experiencing adventure rather than luxury goods. That is what has made tourism industry grow," he remarked.

Quoting Bloomberg data, he stated that the world`s economy only grows three percent a year, but the tourism industry has grown seven percent. Bloomberg predicts one of the four new jobs in the next 10 years to come from the tourism industry.

"Again, 25 percent of new jobs in the world will come from the tourism sector. This is an extraordinary opportunity for ASEAN and Australia to not only promote tourist destinations for the middle class in China and India but also develop it as a big market for domestic tourism industry," he revealed.

Australia can be one of the tourist destinations for development of tourism industry in Asia.

"Several years ago, when the price of commodities fell, Australia had stated, `let us change the explosion of mining into an explosion of dining`. I have said let us move the explosion of dining to ASEAN," he explained.

Moreover, he added that ASEAN was just investing a lot in infrastructure development, such as airport, seaport, and railway development, and some ASEAN member countries have even started developing fast train system for the first time.

"This is an opportunity for Australian business players. ASEAN also needs to create big capital markets such as capital market for dollar and Euro zone. This is a big opportunity for Australian banks and financial industry. Unless it is taken, other financial companies will certainly take it," he elaborated.

Jokowi urged Australian businessmen to do business in ASEAN, especially Indonesia.
"Now is perhaps a colorful time, in the midst of current global and local political situation, but it also offers an encouraging moment to improve the relations between ASEAN and Australia in the fields of trade, tourism, and investment. I welcome you to ASEAN and Indonesia," he noted.

Sharing Jokowi`s view, Turnbull pointed out that the middle class in Indonesia would grow many folds by 2030, opening more opportunities in investment and trade.

"However, the governments and businessmen must remain committed to rules that have been agreed upon for free and open trade, as opening a market may not happen by itself but needs support and commitment from business and governments. Therefore, I invite all of you to assure that the rules are honored in the region," he stressed. (ANTARA)

17
March

Director of the Social Security Administering Agency (BPJS) of Manpower, Agus Susanto stated that his office has a program specifically aimed at providing protection to Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) working abroad. After the inauguration of 17 Community Learning Center (CLC) in Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, on Friday, March 16, Agus Susanto explained that there are some differences between BPJS Employment for workers in Indonesia and the Indonesian Migrant workers TKI. In addition, on that occasion he also explained about android-based applications, BPJS Ketenagakerjaanku which allows migrant workers to register independently.

“Employment BPJS is only one applicable in Indonesia. However, to cover the migrant workers there is a separate regulation. Namely the ministerial regulation number 7 of 2017 where the difference is the coverage and also the amount of contributions. And since August 1, 2017 we have a mandate to provide protection to all workers in placement countries. Last week we introduced an application to register independently by TKI. This is how difficult we are in the country of placement. Therefore, by using android-based applications, BPJS Ketenagakerjaanku, migrant workers can register independently,” Agus Susanto said.

Agus Susanto added it is possible that his side will send special representative in placement countries of the Indonesian migrant workers especially in plantation area that do not get internet access. Therefore, he will continue to coordinate with the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia (KBRI) in the country of placement related to it. In addition to internet access, other thing to be considered by BPJS Employment of opening representatives in the country placement of migrant workers is the workers feel more comfortable to get things directly or face to face. (VOI/Rezha/AHM)