Tuesday, March 27, 2018


 Jakarta, March 27, 2018 (Antara) - Celebrating six decades of diplomatic relations, Indonesia and New Zealand have agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive partnership in various fields including economy, education, and disaster mitigation.
        The agreement was reached during President Joko Widodo's state visit to New Zealand on March 18-19, 2018. The visit, undertaken at the invitation of Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, was the first by an Indonesian leader in 13 years.
        President Widodo and Prime Minister Ardern highlighted the importance of the 60th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Indonesia that were built on the solid foundation of people-to-people contacts and had blossomed into one of the most valuable relationships for both nations. 
   Hence, it was fitting that President Widodo's visit to New Zealand also marked the elevation of bilateral relations to the level of comprehensive partnership, according to a joint statement issued following a bilateral meeting between Widodo and Ardern in Wellington on Mar 19.
        The two leaders also reaffirmed the commitment to increase two-way trade to US$2.9 billion (Rp40 trillion) by 2024. They emphasized that an open, stable, and conducive business environment is the key to achieving this goal.
        They also welcomed the two-way growth in trade and services and affirmed the importance of increasing investment to support mutually beneficial growth, boost productivity, and increase meaningful job opportunities.
        Moreover, Prime Minister Ardern praised the New Zealand-Indonesia business forum held in Auckland on March 16, 2018, and President Widodo's in-depth discussions with business CEOs from New Zealand. Both leaders believe this would contribute to the deepening of two-way trade and investment links.
        The business forum was divided into two sessions, with the first moderated by Head of Indonesia's Capital Investment Coordinating Board Thomas Lembong.
        Indonesian Ambassador to New Zealand Tantowi Yahya, the chief of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and business executives from companies operating in the pharmaceutical, palm oil, food, and geothermal sectors were among those present at the forum.
        New Zealand's delegation at the meeting comprised 29 members: government officials and CEOs from the animal husbandry, tourism, and energy sectors.
        Indonesia has successfully clinched a potential business deal worth $5.4 million during the business forum, Director of National Export Development at the Indonesian Ministry of Trade Arlinda noted in a statement.
        Arlinda led the Indonesian trade mission that began in Auckland on March 16, 2018, and ended in Wellington on March 19, 2018.
        Huge potential transactions were recorded from negotiations on coffee, fertilizers, and palm oil derivative products.      
   Ambassador Yahya lauded the potential trading recorded in the one-on-one business matching event. Yahya is optimistic that the demand for Indonesian products would be high in the New Zealand market.
        "I am proud that this first trade mission to New Zealand has succeeded in recording huge potential transactions. This is a good step for the two countries to achieve a total trade of Rp40 trillion by 2024," Yahya stated.
        Indonesia's bilateral trade with New Zealand in 2017 had increased by 15.72 percent to $1.19 billion compared to 2016.
        In 2017, Indonesia's total exports to New Zealand had amounted to $437.8 million, or 1.09 percent of New Zealand's total imports. On the other hand, New Zealand's total exports to Indonesia were valued at $751.1 million, or 0.47 percent of Indonesia's total imports.
        Most of Indonesia's products exported to New Zealand are palm nut or kernel oilcake, wood for furniture, coal, and facial tissues.
        Meanwhile, both leaders also reaffirmed their commitments under the New Zealand-Indonesia Joint Communiqué on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Promoting Sustainable Fisheries Management, which was signed in 2016. 
   Prime Minister Ardern also confirmed New Zealand's interest in participating in the 5th "Our Ocean" conference, to be held in Indonesia in October 2018.
           Indonesia and New Zealand are committed to increasing two-way education links. Jokowi and Ardern highlighted the cornerstone contribution that people to people connections provide in building a relationship that is as enduring and robust as that shared by New Zealand and Indonesia. 
     In the tourism field, they saw an increase in the numbers of New Zealand citizens travelling to Indonesia, and Indonesian citizens travelling to New Zealand. 
      Both leaders noted the prospects for future growth with the addition of new Bali-Auckland direct flights in 2018.  This would add significantly to travel between the two countries, as well as increase freight options.
          Furthermore,  Indonesia and New Zealand agreed on the extension to the Memorandum of Cooperation on Disaster Risk Management between the National Disaster Management Authority of Indonesia and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
          Ardern announced funding for two new development projects: a NZ$4.5 million three-year project that will enable the Indonesian Red Cross to respond more effectively to disasters; and a NZ$3.5 million five-year project to develop a network of skilled young civic leaders, with a commitment to sustainable development in Eastern Indonesia, through participation in a New Zealand-based leadership programme.
          While attending a state luncheon hosted by New Zealand Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at the Government House, Wellington, President Jokowi promoted Indonesian coffee to the host and other guests.
           As a former businessman, Jokowi explained that his entrepreneurial instincts immediately surfaced upon hearing that New Zealanders are fond of drinking coffee.
          Indonesia is among major coffee producing countries, after Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia.
       According to data of the Trade Ministry, Indonesia has produced an average of 691 thousand tons of coffee per year, while Brazil produced 2,905 thousand tons; Vietnam, 1,650 thousand tons; and Colombia, 840 thousand tons.
        The country is currently aiming to become the second-largest coffee producer by increasing production to one million tons a year.
        Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita believed that New Zealand is a very potential market for Indonesia's coffee. ***3***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/F. Assegaf) 27-03-2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Jakarta, March 22, 2018 (Antara) - Several countries contributing to the largest number of tourists to Bali Island have shifted from those considered as traditional markets, such as Japan and Europe, to China and India.
         India is one of the growing markets, with a high potential for Bali tourism. But its tourism potential had slowed down due to the recent eruption of Mount Agung.     
    Bali has become one of the favorite destinations for Indian people, after the Indonesian government implemented the free-visa policy for India since 2015.
        A significant increase in Indian tourist arrivals was recorded after the policy was implemented, from 19 thousand tourists in 2015 to 250 thousand tourists in 2017, up by 45.59 percent from 187,351 in the year before.
          India is the third biggest contributor of foreign tourists after China and Australia, out of the total 5.8 million foreign tourists visiting the island.
         In January 2018, the number of Indian tourists visiting Bali rose by 29,016, or 65.62 percent, from the same period last year.
         "However, it was down by 107, or 0.37 percent, from the previous month. In December 2017, the total number of Indian tourist arrivals was recorded at 29,123," head of the Central Statistics Agency office, Adi Nugroho, stated.
        Most of the Indian tourists come by direct flight from their country, while others travel by cruise ship.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Jakarta, March 21, 2018 (Antara) - The Indonesian Government has invited several countries to participate in the development of infrastructure being carried out across the country to improve the national connectivity.
         China and Japan are currently been engaged in various infrastructure projects, such as rapid railway projects on Java Islands.
         Now, the Indonesian Government is trying to persuade India to be involved in the constructions of various other projects, such as seaports, airports, and railways.
         The offers were conveyed by Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi while speaking at an India-Indonesia Infrastructure Forum (IIIF) in Jakarta on March 19, 2018.
         Indonesia trusts India, because the south Asian nation is very experienced in developing large-scale infrastructure projects. 
     "I think good relations between Indonesia and India could be deepened and expanded in a concrete manner, especially in airport and seaport development. It is also not impossible in railway development projects," the minister told the forum¿s participants.
           He remarked that large-scale projects offered to Indian investors include the constructions of Kualanamu Airport of Medan in North Sumatra and Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan, as well as medium-scale projects, such as Radin Inten II Airport of Lampung, Juwata Airport of Tarakan in North Kalimantan, and Komodo Airport of Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.
            Seaport projects offered to Indian investors include the Kuala Tanjung port of North Sumatra and Bitung port of North Sulawesi. In addition, there are several small-scale projects in central Indonesian region.

Monday, March 19, 2018


 Jakarta, March 19, 2018 (Antara) - Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is eager to develop itself into a halal tourism destination, which is not only serving halal food or offering decent attractions, but  also free from crimes and illegal activities.
         Currently, the metropolitan city has a number of halal hotels, many halal coffees and restaurants, religious tourist destinations such as graves of Muslim saints, and Setu babakan Betawi (Batavia) traditional kampong.   
     Besides, Jakarta is also known for its Ancol Dream Land and beach, Kota Tua (Old City) area, several lakes and the Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park (TMII) located in eastern part of the city.
        Sofyan Hotel Group is among the pioneer of halal hotels in Jakarta as it has developed the sharia hotel management since 2002.
         In 2015, Sofyan Hotel Betawi won an award over Gloria Hotel Dubai and Landmark Hotel Dubai for category of World's Best Family Friendly Hotels in an international halal tourism award event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  
    The Indonesian Ulemas (Islamic Scholars) Council (MUI) has lauded the Jakarta Administration's plan to promote halal tourism. The MUI has helped set several criteria for meeting the halal tourism destinations.
          Based on the criteria set by the MUI, the city must have no prostitution area, sell no alcoholic beverages in the public areas, no narcotics and other illicit drugs, among other things.
        Deputy Governor of Jakarta Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has said that Jakarta is expected to be fully ready to become a competitive halal tourism destination in Asia by 2020.
         The special autonomous provincial government has also set a target of one million foreign tourist arrivals in Jakarta for the next five years. Halal tourism is suitable not only for Muslims but also for non-Muslims looking for convenient and friendly places while holidaying with their families.
         "Jakarta will make a work plan on halal tourism implementation and halal products to support the program," Sandiaga said recently,  while speaking in a focus group discussion on halal tourism and halal destination.
         The city's major products include halal food and Muslim fashion products, while its attractions include the Old City and Seribu Islands.
         The Setu Babakan Betawi cultural center is also a potential halal tourism attraction, he said.
         The Jakarta administration has planned to make Setu Babakan Betawi  kampong located in South Jakarta, as a center for Jakarta culinary.
        Besides, the Jakarta Administration will establish cooperation with the Syariah Economic Community and several universities to prepare the human resources for halal tourism program.
        The Jakarta Governor has signed a gubernatorial regulation on halal tourism but it needs a minor revision to adjust to the current progress, he said in early March 2018.
           In fact, the Jakarta government is preparing a halal tourism concept for the capital city. 
    To actuate the plan, Sandiaga said he has held a meeting with relevant institutions including the Food, Drugs And Cosmetics Agency and the Jakarta MUI branch.
         Among the items discussed in the meeting was the halal certificates for several tourism destinations in Jakarta. 
    "We will try to identify one or two areas that we can certify as a halal destination," Sandiaga said at the City Hall on Feb. 1, 2018.  
      The halal tourism concept would focus on tourism objects that are certified as halal, including for its gastronomy industry.
         "When a place is appointed as a halal destination, then everything must adhere to the sharia principles and halal stamp from the MUI," he said. 
      The Jakarta Tourism Office is now surveying for locations that are suitable to be turned into a halal tourism destination
     The halal tourism plan has been lauded by Director of the Jakarta Government-owned regional company Tourisindo (JakTour) G Jeffrey Rantung.
        "Alhamdulillah (Thank God), because halal tourism is also our vision, Rantung," said late last year. 
      Rantung said he had briefly discussed the halal tourism program with Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan who has shared a similar idea. He is optimistic that halal tourism industry will be beneficial to the capital city.
          Meanwhile, according to the Global Islamic Economy Indicator, Indonesia ranks 4th for halal tourism, which is geared towards Muslim families who abide by rules of Islam. Indonesia is listed for the first time among the top ten countries with the best halal tourism ecosystem.
         Beside Indonesia, the other top three countries that have well-developed halal tourism are Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, and Turkey.
        Being the world's largest Muslim population nation, Indonesia hopes to attract at least 3.8 million foreign Muslim visitors in 2018, and five million by 2019, which will contribute towards its target of 20 million foreign tourists in the same year.
       In 2016, some 2.7 million foreign Muslim tourists visited Indonesia.
        Currently, the Tourism Ministry has intensified promotions of five halal tourism destinations in Indonesia, namely Aceh, West Sumatra, Jakarta, West Java, and Lombok.
       Halal tourism in Indonesia has earned numerous international awards, including three awards at the World Halal Tourism Award 2015 in Abu Dhabi and 12 awards at the same event in 2016.   ***1***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/Suharto) 19-03-2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Jakarta, March 14, 2018 (Antara) - Banyuwangi District, which is located across Bali Island, is gearing up for the IMF-World Bank Annual Meeting, which will be held in Nusa Dua, Bali Province, in October 2018.
         The district, located in the eastern tip of East Java Province, has been designated as a supporting region for the world¿s largest and most influential finance and economic gathering.
         The meetings are expected to be attended by 15 thousand people from 189 countries, with several of the participants landing in Banyuwangi airport.
        Banyuwangi is eager to showcase its tourist destinations, natural resources, and investment opportunities to some participants of the annual meetings who might land on its international airports.
         Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, earlier this month, had visited Banyuwangi to check the preparations being made to welcome the participants. 
    "I have noticed that Banyuwangi is very much ready to welcome tourists. The city is clean, orderly, and has a lot of potential that could be utilized," the minister, who was accompanied by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Governor of Bank Indonesia (BI) Agus Martowardojo, remarked on March 1.
        Pandjaitan, who is the chairman of the national organizing committee of the IMF-WB Annual Meetings, lauded Banyuwangi as being the most ready.
        The two ministers and the central bank¿s governor held a coordinating minister with Abdullah Azwar Anas, the district head of Banyuwangi, to discuss the preparations for the international gathering.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Jakarta, March 10, 2018 (Antara) - Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led a delegation to Indonesia recently to check the preparations for the IMF-World Bank (IMF-WB) Annual Meetings to be held in Nusa Dua, Bali, from Oct 8 to 14, 2018.
         Lagarde seemed to be satisfied with the sound preparations made by the Indonesian Government, as the host for the meeting, so far. She was optimistic that the meeting would run smoothly and successfully as expected.  
    The opportunity to host the annual meetings, which is one of the world's largest financial and economic gatherings, brings many benefits to the host country, including increased tourism and investment and business opportunities that last long after the meetings are over.
         Up to 15 thousand people are expected to attend the annual meetings, including about 3.5 thousand delegates from 189 member countries, roughly 1 thousand media representatives, and more than 5 thousand participants representing the private sector, the banking community, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and also observers and parliamentarians.      
    The annual meetings will also feature side events, such as seminars, investment forum, workshop, and cultural events.  
    During her stay in Bali, Lagarde was accompanied by Peter Jacobs, chairman of the IMF-WB Annual Meetings' Task Force, and Causa Iman Karana, head of the Bank Indonesia chapter in Bali.
         "We are very pleased with the extraordinary cooperation that we have established with Bank Indonesia (BI), the related authorities, and the government for this activity. We maintain an amazing relationship," she remarked.


 Jakarta, March 10, 2018 (Antara) - The 2018 International Monetary Fund-World Bank (IMF-WB) Annual Meetings, one of the biggest and influential events in the fields of finance and economy, will be organized in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Oct 8-14, this year.
         Indonesia will utilize the opportunity of hosting the IMF-WB Annual Meetings in Bali in October 2018 to showcase its economic potential to prospective investors.
         One of its mega development projects awaiting more investors is the Mandalika Special Economic Zone located in Central Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB).
         The IMF-WB financial gathering is expected to be attended by up to 15 thousand people from 189 countries, and some of them are invited to visit the Mandalika project.
         Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, chairman of the national organizing committee of the IMF-WB meeting, had visited the Mandalika project site in early March 2018 to review the preparations to welcome delegates from various countries.
        The IMF-WB Annual Meetings will promote Indonesia's economic potential at the global level, according to Panjaitan, who was accompanied by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Governor of Indonesia's Central Bank Agus Martowardojo during a visit to NTB.
         He lauded the progress made in the construction of the Mandalika tourism area project in Kuta, Central Lombok, a year following its inauguration by President Joko Widodo.
         "I think, as compared to a year ago, the progress is amazing now," Minister Pandjaitan remarked.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Jakarta, March 7, 2018 (Antara) - The Indonesian Government is intensifying its war on drugs as the country has been flooded with illicit drugs, particularly crystal methamphetamine, smuggled mostly from China.
         In July 2017, the then chief of the National Narcotic Agency Commissioner General Budi Waseso had revealed that based on information that he had received from the authorities in China, some 250 tons of crystal methamphetamine and 1,097.6 tons of drug precursors had been smuggled into Indonesia from China in 2016.
        The Indonesian authorities had managed to seize only some 3.4 tons of crystal methamphetamine in 2016, some 2.1 tons in 2017, and 2.932 tons during the January-February 2018 period.
          "It indicates that Indonesia is being flooded with illicit drugs. I am saddened to see that smuggling of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia is occurring on such a massive scale," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani noted on Feb 23, 2018, following the success in foiling an attempt by four Chinese nationals to smuggle 1.6 tons of methamphetamine aboard a Singaporean-flagged boat.
          On Feb 7, 2018, the Indonesian Navy had seized MV Sunrise Glory and four Taiwanese crew members for smuggling one ton of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia. On Feb 20, four Chinese nationals were arrested in the waters of Riau Islands, which share a maritime border with Singapore, for attempting to smuggle 1.6 tons of crystal meth into Indonesia aboard a Singapore-flagged boat.
         As drugs syndicates attempt to flood Indonesia, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) installed police Inspector General Heru Winarko as the new chief of BNN to succeed Waseso, who was entering retirement age, on March 1, 2018.
         Following his inauguration as BNN chief, Winarko pledged that he would aim his gun directly at a number of big drug bosses in the country.