Top traders get SBY's seal of approval

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono presented the Primaniyarta Awards to 23 companies assessed as the best performing exporters this year, and praised them as economic heroes during a ceremony Wednesday.

He said that total exports this year could reach US$100 billion as they amounted to $64.6 billion during the first eight months alone, up 17.1 percent from the same period last year.

Mineral exports posted the highest growth at 35.20 percent, followed by agricultural commodities at 21.7 percent and manufactured products at 14.6 percent.

"We should further develop our exports, notably the products of labor-intensive and resource-based businesses as they have a strong competitive edge on the international market," Yudhoyono said.

He noted that the export sector, besides private and government consumption, had been the main locomotive of economic growth over the past few years. However, investment needed to be increased if the export sector was once again to be the prime mover of the economy as it was before the 1997 economic crisis.

"The government has launched several reform packages to improve the investment climate as it is only through robust new investment that we will be able to create the jobs we need," he said at the opening of the five-day Trade Expo Indonesia at the Kemayoran Fairground.

The Primaniyarta Awards have been presented by the Trade Ministry annually since the 1990s as part of the effort to promote exports and motivate companies to become more active in marketing their products worldwide.

Best export performance is assessed based on increases in export sales, diversification of export markets and products, and the development of Indonesian brand names on the international market.

Resource-based exporters continued to make up the majority of the 23 Primaniyarta awardees this year, which included eight small and medium-scale businesses.

Among the winners were PT Musim Mas, a palm-oil company based in Medan, North Sumatra, which received an award for best performing exporter. This was the seventh time that Musim Mas has won the award.

PT Megasurya Mas from Sidoarjo, East Java, received the exceptional achievement award for promoting its own brands and expanding its exports of soap and margarine products to more than 60 countries in Asia and Africa. This year marked its second Primaniyarta award.

Other awardees were companies that utilized natural gas (such as PT Pupuk Kaltim), timber (such as PT Cahaya Sakti Furintraco) and agricultural products (fruits, spices and palm oil).

Only two of the awardees -- PT LG. Electronics Indonesia and textile firm PT Daya Manunggal -- were not entirely dependent on local natural resources.
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