Although the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit meetings have not finished yet, there are already some interesting results. As has been reported previously, the Indonesian government will release another economic policy package in October. One new policy involves the revision of Indonesia's negative investment list (which lists sectors that are either wholly or partially closed to private foreign and/or domestic investment). Another positive result involves the APEC Environmental Goods List (APEC EG List).
The government of Indonesia has been eagerly trying to put palm oil and rubber on the APEC Environmental Goods List. However, in order to succeed it needs approval of the other APEC members first. Yesterday (06/10), Trade minister Gita Wirjawan stated that all 21 members agreed to place palm oil, rubber as well as two other commodities (rice and rattan) on the APEC's environmental goods list. The advantage of being included in the list, which currently contains 54 items, is that import duties on the products fall by 5 percent by 2015. The list focuses on exploring trade in goods, which contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth through rural development and poverty alleviation. Palm oil in Indonesia, although often criticized for damaging the environment, plays an important role in Indonesia's rural communities as it provides millions of jobs for the local population. According to the latest data from the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki), about 4.9 million Indonesians currently work in the palm oil industry.
The revision of the negative investment list was announced by Finance minister Chatib Basri. Basri said that the revision will make the list less restrictive and more investment-friendly. It is important for the government to support (foreign) investments as the country saw a reduced influx of investments in the last couple of quarters. This development is partly responsible for slowing economic growth of Indonesia. More details about the revision of the negative investment list will be announced at a later stage. Basri also stated that, in order to support the development of Indonesia's human resources, tax deductions are allowed for companies that establish a research and development department in Indonesia.