Robert Hormats, US Under-Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, on Indonesia’s emerging leadership role

 Robert Hormats, US Under-Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment

As the world’s third-largest democracy, an important member of the G20 and a country highly respected for its many accomplishments, Indonesia plays a significant role in regional and global affairs. Over the past three years, US-Indonesian bilateral relations have flourished under the framework of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership. This commitment has strengthened our cooperation in a number of key areas.

In 2013 Indonesia will continue to reinforce its emergence as an international leader in trade, global economic policy and the environment. The country will host both the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial meetings. As the 16th largest economy in the world, a country growing steadily at more than 6% per year and as a dynamic democracy comprising of more than 240m people, Indonesia is prepared to take on, and excel at, these significant hosting responsibilities.

Indonesia’s chairmanship of APEC in 2013, in particular, represents a great opportunity to advance global trade and environmental priorities. Consisting of 21 countries, APEC’s members account for more than half of global economic activity. Member nations are dedicated to the proposition that free and open trade promotes harmony and economic growth that is more consistent and equitable. Indonesia will host a series of APEC-related meetings to discuss a range of economic issues – all with the goal of seeking greater cooperation and policy coordination within the region.

APEC 2013 will culminate with the leaders meeting in Bali. When Indonesia last hosted APEC in 1994, the organisation promulgated the Bogor Goals. These goals committed member economies to realise the ambitious objective of “free and open trade and investment throughout the region” by 2020.

We understand that Indonesia, as the APEC host, will use the October 2013 leaders meeting to review how much progress has been made in achieving the Bogor Goals and announce an updated version with even more ambitious objectives. In addition, we also look forward to supporting Indonesia’s Blue Economy initiative, which aims to ensure that economic growth does not come at the expense of the marine environment.

In December 2013 Indonesia will again host a major global economic event – the WTO’s Ninth Ministerial Conference. At the conference, senior officials from all 157 member countries will convene to highlight the WTO’s commitments to reducing obstacles to international trade and ensuring a level playing field for all. Indonesia’s leadership role in this area will help contribute to global economic growth and development.

Indonesia’s influence in world affairs is not a recent phenomenon. The country has been a key voice for the region ever since Vice-President Mohammad Hatta declared in 1948 that the country would pursue a “free and active” foreign policy. In addition to its role in APEC and the WTO, Indonesia’s leadership has been demonstrated in other multilateral organisations such as ASEAN. As the association’s largest economy, Indonesia has exercised its leadership to promote economic development and more open trade in the region.

The US appreciates the leadership that Indonesia has provided in supporting free and open global trade. Both our governments recognise a direct correlation between a nation’s growth in trade and in GDP. Only when countries have removed protectionist barriers and become more integrated into the global trading system do their economies start to truly prosper and begin lifting their citizens out of poverty.

As a long-time supporter of free trade, an historic leader in South-east Asia and an influential trading nation, Indonesia’s trade and economic policy decisions matter more now than ever before. The US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership has proven itself as an effective framework for bringing our two nations closer by increasing dialogue on topics of mutual interest or concern. We look forward to working more closely with Indonesia in 2013 as they host APEC and the WTO ministerial meetings, highlighting Indonesia’s emergence as an economic power and global leader.

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Robert Hormats

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