While preparing to take over the chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in January 2013, Indonesia aims to build economic resilience and sustainable growth, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Friday.
“We have three priorities: attaining the Bogor Goals, achieving sustainable growth and promoting connectivity,” Marty said, referring to goals set up by APEC leaders back in 1994 during the forum’s summit in Bogor, West Java.
The goals were designed to expand free trade and business investment among APEC countries.
To meet the Bogor Goals, APEC works to encourage trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation and economic and technical cooperation.
Marty said Indonesia would also use the opportunity of being the chair of APEC to introduce a commitment to sustainable growth with equity.
“What we want is not any kind of growth at any cost, but growth with equity and environmentally friendly growth. Therefore we will improve [the growth of] small and medium enterprises,” he said.
In light of the current global economic crisis, economic resilience has been chosen as the theme of the APEC summit, which will be held in Bali in October 2013.
“As we can see the global economic situation is still uncertain. Compared to the euro zone, the Asia-Pacific region is still relatively stable, but we need to further strengthen the resilience,” Marty said.
He also emphasized the need to promote connectivity among APEC members.
“At the national level, the main point is in the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development [MP3EI], and we will also develop a blue [marine-based] economy,” he said.
Marty said that in 2013 there would be a series of ministerial meetings to discuss different issues. The senior official meetings will be held in cities such as Medan, Palembang, Makassar, Solo and Surabaya.
Next year, he said, the government will also focus on preventive measures to reduce the number of Indonesian migrant workers involved in legal troubles overseas, following a significant drop in cases in 2012.
“I won’t call it a success just yet, but the fact is that there has been a significant reduction in cases of troubled Indonesian [migrant workers] overseas,” Marty said.
“Previously we were very focused on protection. When there’s a disaster or a legal case we will protect our citizens, it goes without saying. But after going deeper into the problem, we realized that we are not going to solve anything if we only focused on protection.”
Marty said Indonesia’s efforts to reduce the number of cases of migrant workers in trouble had shown some positive results.
In 2011, the Foreign Ministry reported that 38,880 Indonesians were caught up in legal cases overseas, but with a string of preventive measures this year the figure dropped to 19,218 cases.
“It seems like our preventive measures, including moratoriums and better preparation [for migrants] before sending [them overseas], have started to deliver,” he said.
Marty also said that in 2012 Indonesia managed to save 110 Indonesians from the death penalty. Eight of them were forgiven after paying financial compensation to the families of the victims. However, 119 other Indonesians still face the death sentence.
“Almost 60 percent of them were related to drug cases and 25 percent were murder cases,” he said.