NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week, the American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) celebrated Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's visit to the United States, during which Indonesia was honored and highlighted as a premier emerging market destination for investment as well as for its sustainable development policies.
On Monday, September 24th, President Yudhoyono was the guest of honor at the New York Stock Exchange's Indonesia Investment Day, which featured a robust seminar on "Indonesia's Rise as Asia's New Economic Power House: Transformation, Opportunities & Partnership for All." The President and several senior ministers highlighted the country's growing demand for infrastructure investment, a topic that was explored in several bilateral commercial dialogs later in the week. That evening, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute co-hosted a dinner at which President Yudhoyono received the "Valuing Nature Award" honoring the strides Indonesia has made in the realm of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and protection of its coral reefs during the course of his Presidential administration. Also, at the dinner, one of AICC's valued partners, the US-ASEAN Business Council, honored President Yudhoyono with its First 21st Century Economic Achievement Award. In the words of the Council's President, Alex Feldman: "President Yudhoyono has brought Indonesia forward as a global leader, not just as a leading voice in ASEAN, but also as a strong partner in the G-20 and APEC."
"President Yudhoyono's visit to the United States truly showcases how much Indonesia has become a sought-after destination for investment and partnerships within the United States business community," remarked Wayne Forrest, President of the AICC. "The President met with the CEOs of many top tier US corporations and I expect some new partnerships will result from the very serious business discussions that were held. It's very clear that thanks to its strong macroeconomic management and recent strides in sustainable development, Indonesia is becoming a favored destination for US investors."
Spotlight on the Indonesian Plantation Industries
Under the guidance of President Yudhoyono, Indonesia's plantation industries are on the path toward sustainable development. Companies that play in this sector – including pulp and paper, rubber, forestry and wood manufacturing – contribute about $21 billion to the nation's GDP, which is about 3.5 percent of the national economy. Combined, these industries employ 3.76 million people - roughly 4 percent of Indonesia's working population.
Over the past 50 years the forest-based industry in Indonesia has evolved from small, localized crafts and lumber businesses to an internationally competitive sector, according to "The Economic Contribution of Indonesia's Forest-based Industries," a report by consultants ITS Global. Wood products, pulp and paper accounted for 6 percent of all Indonesian exports in 2010 and account for about 8.3 percent of all value-added manufacturing.
The sector is now undergoing sweeping transformation, especially with the introduction of SVLK, Indonesia's new wood legality and verification certification. SVLK consists of standards and guidelines to ensure that the wood and wood-based products produced by Indonesian concession holders and manufacturers are sourced from legal origins; and that they are produced, distributed, and marketed in a legal manner based on Indonesian laws and regulations.
As countries around the world, including the U.S., seek greater transparency in global timber markets, SVLK establishes a new standard by which Indonesian forest-based products are legally procured and processed.
Companies Leading the Charge
"There are a number of Indonesian companies that are truly leading the charge as role models for sustainable development," continued Mr. Forrest. "Asia Pulp & Paper and Bakrie Sumatra Plantations are just two examples.
"Asia Pulp & Paper's mills are rapidly gaining SVLK certification, and coupled with the pledges APP set forth in its Sustainability Roadmap for 2020 and beyond, it's clear that the company is on a path to be one of the world's most sustainable pulp and paper companies on a global stage by the end of this decade.
"Bakrie Sumatra Plantations, one of Indonesia's oldest rubber and palm oil plantations, is now certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and regularly receives awards for its environmental stewardship.
"The AICC has been nurturing business partnerships between the U.S. and Indonesia since 1949, and is thrilled to witness the keen interest the U.S. business community is taking in Indonesia," concluded Mr. Forrest.
About the AICC:
The American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (AICC) was established in 1949 before Indonesia received its full sovereignty from the Netherlands. A private membership organization headquartered in New York, AICC was the first US organization to openly lobby for Indonesia's independence. Its members include major investors who have contributed greatly to Indonesia's economic development as well as small companies who are the lifeline in the US for Indonesia's exports.
CONTACT: Wayne Forrest, 212-687-4505
SOURCE American Indonesian Chamber of Commerce