Welcoming Remarks at the 2011 ASEAN Business and Investment Summit SofjanWanandi, Chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (APINDO)
Her Excellency, Dr Marie Pangestu, Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy
Mr Anangga Roosdiono, Chairman of ASEAN BAC
Distinguished Speakers and Participants
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to add my welcome to you on behalf of the Indonesian Employers Association or APINDO, which is pleased to be a co-organizer of the Summit in Bali this year. APINDO represents many large businesses, which trade and invest in regional and global markets, and many small businesses across Indonesia, with a big stake in the developments in the ASEAN Economic Community.
Like you, we are very concerned about the crisis unfolding in global financial markets, especially in the Eurozone, and the impact this will have on us in ASEAN and East Asia.
Right now, ASEAN and the rest of Asia offer a relatively stable economic environment. However, as economies, we are more open and integrated than we have even been. This has helped our region build strong growth but it also exposes us to greater risk and volatility from outside the region at this time.
At this summit, we will be discussing what we should do to cope with these risks and keep the region growing as we move to establish the ASEAN Economic Community over the next three years.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe the important thing at this time is for our governments to move forward to make ASEAN and the region an even stronger and more sustainable place to invest and to do business. Strong consumer demand will play an important role but we must not take this for granted.
What we need now is a concerted effort to get on with the infrastructure plans in the region to underpin further business development, build competitiveness and enable more of our economies to contribute to growth. Indonesia alone will need billions of dollars in the next ten to fifteen years on various infrastructure projects: highways, railways, ports, airports and telecommunications to connect the entire archipelago. Other countries have a similar list of infrastructure needs. Our governments will contribute only a small fraction of the total amount. The rest will come primarily from the private sector. The ASEAN Infrastructure Fund, which we will discuss at this Summit, will certainly help.
As you know, the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity lays out the plans and strategies for infrastructure, the distribution and logistics channels and many other factors that are needed to connect ASEAN and the region. We also have a Master Plan in Indonesia to open new corridors for business across our provinces. These plans are very good but our governments must move without delay to the implementation phase to get real projects underway.
And to attract the infrastructure investors and the businesses and services that will follow, we need clear and certain laws and regulations from our governments that will give more confidence for long term investments. This is also required to make ASEAN growth sustainable as we face the challenges of food shortages and climate change.
Sustainable growth in the ASEAN Economic Community will also depend upon us becoming more innovative and more inclusive in ASEAN. We cannot build a successful community unless it has a real place for the millions of SMEs in ASEAN and for a new generation of young entrepreneurs who have the confidence to operate in a competitive global environment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, above all this is a time for strong business leadership in our region to help our governments meet the immediate challenges and to work with them in shaping the ASEAN Economic Community and our region.
This should be cooperative and continuing effort between ASEAN businesses and our global and regional partners as this Summit reflects.
I thank you all for coming to Bali and wish you well in the discussions over the next two days.