President's Speech on the Opening of ABAC Meeting "Reviving the Bogor Spirit"



State Palace, Jakarta, 21-1-2008

Keynote Address on The Occasion of The Opening of The ABAC Meeting: `Reviving The Bogor Spirit`







Jakarta, Istana Negara, 21 January 2008

<i>Bismillah Hirrahmanirrahim

Assalamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

Chairman of APEC Business Advisory Council, Mr.Juan Raffo, Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bapak Hidayat, excellencies ministers distinguish participant, ladies and gentlemen

Let me begin by bidding all of you, the members of the Asia Pacific Business Advisory Council (ABAC), a very warm welcome to Jakarta. I have met some of you on several occasions before, and I am pleased to see you here today.

Thank you Pak Hidayat, and also the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for introducing the ABAC delegates today, which I understand include ABAC members from all the APEC economies, APEC senior officials and other delegates. I understand that this ABAC meeting has, in addition, members of the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry from different parts of Indonesia. I applaud the initiative of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring a broad representation of its members to be with the ABAC delegates today. This signals that the Indonesian business community is open for business and is committed to working with our international partners to develop new opportunities for growth and development.

I would like to express my thanks to Mr. Raffo from Peru, the Chair of ABAC for 2008, for his introduction of ABAC’s themes for the Peru APEC year. I very much look forward to supporting President Garcia in Peru’s Chairmanship of APEC this year and to visiting Peru in November.

You know, I was very encouraged when I learnt from our ABAC Members at the APEC meeting in Sydney last September that Mr. Raffo had invited Indonesia to host the first ABAC Meeting for 2008. I understand that this is the first time ABAC has met in Jakarta and only the second time in Indonesia. I hope that you take some time to look at Indonesia more closely both as tourists and as business people.

We all know that ABAC plays a vital role in the APEC process. Let me tell you a little secret. One of the major highlights of APEC meetings that I look forward to is the opportunity to have open and direct discussions with ABAC members. I assure you that I have found these discussions to be of high value as they helped inform Leaders about the priorities we need to work on to ensure that the APEC vision is working for those who must make it happen – the business people.

I know that dialogue between ABAC and APEC Senior Officials is high on the agenda at your meeting, here in Jakarta. I am very pleased to hear that there may be a record number of APEC Senior Officials here in Jakarta for the discussions with ABAC. All of us must be able to understand business priorities in order to set policies for growth and development. This also includes the needs of our micro and small businesses, who generate so many jobs in our economies. I applaud ABAC for including a Workshop on Microfinance in your program in Jakarta. The reality is that micro enterprises are mainstream business right across APEC and addressing their financial needs should be a mainstream issue as well.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

You come together in Jakarta at a time of challenge to the certainty and stability of the international economy and the trading system that underpin your businesses. Oil prices and other commodity prices are on the rise and fluctuating, the US economy is experiencing a downturn, and there are many other uncertainties affecting the global economic architecture.

The Doha Development round of WTO negotiations is under a cloud, and we have financial volatility within our region translated into trans-pacific financial and trade imbalances and the fallout of the sub-prime loan issues in the US. Superimposed on these already significant issues, is the global challenge of climate change that we addressed in Bali in December last year.

The need for global and regional cooperation has never been greater nor the matrix of issues more complex. In this environment, it is not just a question of what cooperation processes we need to address all these challenges. I believe the more important issue is the values and principles we choose as the foundation for our cooperation.

As you come to Indonesia for your meeting, I would like us to reflect upon the values of the vision that APEC Leaders adopted in Bogor in 1994.Bogor is about 35 miles south of Jakarta. Building on the Blake Island initiative to establish an Asia Pacific Community in 1993, in their meeting in Bogor, APEC Leaders gave us a new approach to the process of regional cooperation because they defined the outcome of their goals – the Bogor Goals. Bogor vision is about building our future together as a region. Within this vision, there is clear acknowledgement that the business sector is the driver of integration in APEC.

APEC Leaders stressed respect for our great diversity as we open our markets and facilitate trade and investment. The aim is to provide more opportunity through growth in both developed and developing economies. Let us also not forget that APEC was at the forefront of recognizing that opening up of markets and facilitating trade and investment can only come about if building capacity and technical and economic cooperation is also a cornerstone of regional economic cooperation. This is of course well known as the three pillars of APEC.

How did and should business people look at APEC ? I believe that at the time the Bogor Goals were designed, leaders in government and business recognized that we needed to foster the rapid integration that was already emerging due to globalization. It was clear that business was leading this process and Governments needed to encourage this with a more open environment to trade and investment for business. So many business people will say that they just need open markets and the transformation of profits to opportunities is the role of government. That is partly true, but in today’s global complexity we must work in partnership between governments and business.

This partnership and our cooperation across economies must have strong values and I would say that we have these in the spirit of Bogor.

The progress of achieving the Bogor goals cannot be measured in terms of how open our markets are to trade and investment. But the real benchmark of progress toward the Bogor vision is how we transform more open markets and greater integration into stronger economic growth, more jobs, better infrastructure, the delivery of modern telecommunications, education for our people, and the quality of healthcare. These are certainly the benchmarks that political leaders must use. So let us therefore never forget the three pillars of APEC and that opening up to trade and investment is a means to achieving development and prosperity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As we move forward, we should also ensure that APEC cooperation and the Bogor spirit carries us through to face the uncertainties and complexities of the global environment. In 1994, the Bogor vision looked very challenging. In 2008, it is a very different world. Many of our economies have been reshaped by rapid globalization, a major economic crisis, a revolution in information and technology and our responses to terrorism. And new pressing global challenges on energy and climate change now demand our urgent attention. Change is the wildcard in all that APEC faces. Global and regional cooperation to address these challenges has never been more important.

Let us begin with the uncertainties in the world trading system.

Whilst a fair and rules based multilateral trading system remains priority for Indonesia and APEC, the slowness of completing the Doha Development round has led to increased uncertainties. Most APEC members have also entered into or are negotiating bilateral and regional agreements. Recently, this has led to increased questioning whether the Bogor goals can now be achieved with voluntary commitments and whether we should move to a more formal negotiated approach.

As we face the uncertainties ahead for the Doha Development Agenda and contemplate more intense negotiations to establish regional and bilateral trade agreements, I hope that the spirit and values of Bogor are embodied in our efforts. We should realize that the Bogor vision is much more than free and open trade and investment, whether it is considered through bilateral deals or a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific that you are now examining.

I know in APEC that you are striving for high quality free trade agreements and are preparing model measures. This is an important contribution. But in the process of negotiating agreements, there is still the danger that we will become conservative and defensive and lock ourselves in the present. Let us keep sufficient energy and focus on the delivery of the outcomes we are working toward and on the confidence we need to build in each other. This will not only will better prepare us for deeper economic cooperation but also equip us for the new challenges ahead.

It is clear that all of these factors clearly significantly affect the risk and return profile for businesses.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

Climate change and energy security are our biggest challenges. These are global challenges that will test us as never before. They have the potential to create tension and economic and social hardship. Everything we have worked for as a regional is at peril unless we address these issues.

We now have nearly two decades of experience in APEC in cooperation. Nearly three decades ago when APEC’s forefather, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, was formed, it was almost unthinkable that governments and businesses could work together as they are today.

I believe that the spirit of Bogor, the shared vision we have of our future and the practice of cooperation that we have established also give us the means and the values we need to address the very difficult issues of climate change and energy security.

APEC has the potential to be a global leader in developing the way forward with these issues if we can work together as we do in APEC.

The role of business in this is absolutely critical. With the right policy environment and signals, we can turn to business as the great innovators and developers of the solutions to these new challenges through new technologies and approaches. It is important that we in government foster the right policy environment for this to happen and we need to work closely with business to do this. I know that you are already working on this in ABAC. I note that on your agenda you already have the following issues that you are discussing as well as exploring ways to cooperate :

• Building and integrating our financial systems

• Working together with others in the region to build capacity in financial systems

• Facilitation of Trade and Investment

• Examining the architecture for trade and investment

• Incorporating technology and information into all that we do

• Looking at the priorities for energy security

• Bringing microfinance into the agenda

• Working on emergency preparedness

In Indonesia, we are determined to be part of the solution. We are obligated to lift our disadvantaged out of poverty and create higher living standards for all of our 230 million people. We need to deliver electricity to our people and transport services across our vast island country. However, Indonesia is uniquely placed as a "green country" to contribute to a global effort to address climate change. Indonesia is very much aware of our special role in climate change as a major source of carbon sinks, due to the vast areas of tropical rain forests in our country. I welcome the interest of many companies in promoting reforestation and avoided deforestation in Indonesia. In the run-up the Bali Conference, we in Indonesia have launched an ambitious tree-planting campaign across Indonesia, where we planted some 89 million trees this year. We would like to encourage investment in a wide range of green and environmentally-positive industries as well as play a major role in providing opportunities for carbon offsets.

Excellencies Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing let me go back again to my main message of ensuring that the spirit and values of the Bogor Goals continues to be used as a basis for building our future. We have to ensure the right balance between building the conducive environment, institutions and capacity and taking down the barriers.

The spirit of Bogor is about increasing certainty and confidence to the way we work together to integrate our economies. Business needs this.

The spirit of Bogor is about opportunity and change and preparing ourselves to take up those opportunities.

The spirit of Bogor is about providing the right environment for business to innovate and expand, to create jobs and to drive our growth.

The spirit of Bogor is about providing a seamless trade and investment environment so that business can effectively work across the region. This is the new business model that we need to foster.

We must continue to promote the spirit of Bogor, for this will be what we need to cooperate together and build a real Asia Pacific Community that meets the challenges of the 21st century.

I wish you all the best in your deliberations.

Thank you.


Jakarta, January 21st 2008

President of The Republic of Indonesia