Batam hosts regional investment expo

Fadli, The Jakarta Post, Batam

A three-day regional investment promotion expo got underway in Batam on Friday, with all 33 of country's provinces taking part in the hope of piquing the interest of investors.

"With this event, we expect to facilitate and perhaps open up investment opportunities for investors," Darmawan Djajusman from the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) said while opening the event

"And with all the provinces in the country participating, potential investors will be presented with a wide range of business opportunities to explore," .

The regional event, the second time in as many years, is being organized by BKPM and the Batam Authority.

Indonesia is currently searching for a major boost in investment, particularly from overseas, to push economic growth above 6 percent, a figure deemed essential to help reduce chronic poverty and unemployment.

The Indonesian economy expanded by 5.5 percent last year.

The first semester of this year saw realized foreign investment reach US$4.10 billion, a roughly 18 percent increase from the $3.51 billion recorded in the first half of last year.

East Java drew in the largest amount of investment this year with $1.57 billion. Jakarta came second at $1.05 billion, followed by West Java ($410.8 million) and Riau ($403.8 million), data from the BPKP shows.

Nationwide, investments in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries accounted for $1.52 billion, followed by paper and printing ($423 million), food processing ($298.7 million), mining ($282.5 million) and trade and repair ($239.6 million).

Despite high expectations, the first day of the expo saw few interested foreign investors show up. Darmawan was undeterred, however, saying he was convinced that more would come based on confirmations BKPM had received from a number of foreign trade agencies and business associations.

Among those having previously announced they are coming are: the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia, the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the British Chamber of Commerce and the Indonesia-Australia Business Council.
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