Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, right, sits next to President Joko Widodo and other top state officials, at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in this file photo from February. (Antara Photo/Suwandy)

Jokowi Wants Indonesian Diplomats to Facilitate Foreign Investment

BY :EZRA SIHITE & NATASIA CHRISTY

FEBRUARY 02, 2015

Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi, right, sits next to President Joko Widodo and other top state officials, at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday. (Antara Photo/Suwandy)

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo has ordered the Foreign Affairs Ministry and all its diplomats to focus on bringing more foreign investment into Indonesia.

"I told all diplomats, ambassadors and heads of consulates to focus their diplomacy on the economic sector. Our trade deficit can be turned into a surplus if our ambassadors can promote our commodities," Joko said on Monday at the Foreign Affairs Ministry building, after a closed meeting with officials.

There is plenty to gain for Indonesia on the world market, Joko said.

On the global market for wood, the president said as an example, Indonesia accounts for just $1.8 billion out of the total $480 billion.

"This is because we've never promoted [our wood]," Joko said. "Our representatives abroad should promote those products."

Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi said that she would make sure the order will be implemented.

"All Indonesian diplomats have to think like merchants. They have to think about how to [boost] trade, invite investment, attract tourists, and find [other] opportunities," she said.

Retno also promised her ministry would make sure that Indonesian representatives abroad would provide the necessary services for investors.

"The embassies now have to provide answers to questions from investors within three times 24 hours. And sometimes we get an offer but we don't respond," she said. "I've asked [Indonesian ambassadors] to start talking to private investors and invite them to attend the business summit during the Asia-Africa Conference [in Indonesia in April]."

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