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America And Southeast Asia
Indonesia Invites Foreign Investment

Yesterday, Indonesian officials said that they will allow complete foreign ownership in 35 industries. The WSJ:

Officials announced they would open up 35 business sectors to 100% foreign ownership, including toll roads, film production and distribution, tourism-related ventures such as restaurants, and nontoxic waste management. Dozens of others in sectors such as health care and telecommunications will see an increase in allowable foreign stakes. Ventures in online-marketplaces—a budding business in the nation of 250 million people—will be fully opened to investments of more than 100 billion rupiah, or over $7.4 million.

The announcement comes a week after Jakarta signaled its intent to amend at least a dozen laws and thus pave the way for Indonesia to join the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. President Joko Widodo has repeatedly stated that he hopes Indonesia can be more integrated into the global economy. Foreign investment should help Indonesia develop its economy and become more powerful. That’s good for the United States as well as for Indonesia, because the U.S. wants to see more a strong, prosperous Indonesia—not least for the part it could play in helping to challenge China’s regional ambitions.

Indonesia’s liberalization and TPP will no doubt be topics of conversation at the upcoming ASEAN summit President Obama is holding in California. That event signals to China that the U.S. intends to compete aggressively for investment and security arrangements in Southeast Asia.

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