Jakarta. Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan took the opportunity to lure investment in Indonesia's maritime sector during the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York this week.
The conference themed "Our Oceans, Our Future" was held to discuss the crucial role the oceans play in poverty reduction, global food security, economic development and curbing climate change. It also addressed the threat human activity poses to the marine ecology and ways to the mitigate this.
The conference coincided with World Ocean Day on Thursday (08/06).
Taking advantage of the high-profile event, Luhut called on investors from the United States to explore opportunities in Indonesia's maritime sector.
"We have it all. Indonesia has received investment grade ratings [from three international rating agencies], and our security situation is generally favorable. What else?" the minister said, as quoted in a report by the Voice of America News on Friday.
Rapid economic growth and Indonesia's efforts to simplify the investment process in the country are the main points Luhut highlighted.
However, investors responded that legal certainty and security remain serious concerns in Indonesia.
"The government has to do whatever it can to promote the rule of law and enforcement of contracts. For that, you need a legal system that can back businesses up. That's really important. The real task is to get companies to open factories and things like that. That's when you need legal certainty," Wayne Forrest, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia, said during the session.
Luhut was earlier appointed as vice president of the UN Ocean Conference, in which capacity he will represent the interests of Asia-Pacific countries and conduct dialogue sessions to promote Indonesia's commitment to maritime conservation and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The minister said Indonesia has committed to reduce the use of plastic and that it plans to invest $1 billion in waste management programs.
Luhut also proposed the establishment of a forum of archipelagic and island countries at the UN Ocean Conference to jointly resolve challenges currently faced by such nations.
Separately, the US Department of Defense released a statement on Thursday saying that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had met with Luhut on Wednesday to discuss maritime security challenges and defense cooperation.
Mattis and Luhut exchanged views on the regional maritime security environment in Southeast Asia, discussed cooperation on countering violent extremism from groups such as Islamic State, and addressed the threat posed by returning foreign fighters, Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana W. White said in the statement.
Mattis reportedly expressed his appreciation for a broad range of US-Indonesian defense cooperation initiatives and encouraged the archipelago nation to continue its contributions to regional maritime security.
"They emphasized continued cooperation in maritime domain awareness and information sharing to combat transnational threats," White said.
She added that Mattis and Luhut also discussed the importance of supporting Indonesia's defense modernization efforts through strengthening bilateral training, interoperability and defense trade.
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