By Dezan Shira & Associates
Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim majority country. Over 88 percent of Indonesia’s population is Muslim, and the country is well positioned to be a hub for Halal products in Southeast Asia.
Supporting this projection are Indonesia’s favorable demographics, rising disposable incomes, and growing consumer awareness on their religious obligations.
Indonesia is also keen to make its Halal industry attractive for investors. The government recently passed industry regulations and has earmarked new sites for the development of Halal industrial clusters.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
Editor: Vasundhara Rastogi
There are two types of employment visas available for foreign workers planning to work and live in Indonesia: ITAS (Izin Tinggal Terbatas), a limited stay permit, issued by the Indonesian Immigration Directorate General through the local immigration office; and KITAP (Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap), a permanent stay permit that is available for application to only those foreign workers who have held ITAS for a minimum of three consecutive years.
While ITAS is a limited stay permit, VITAS (Visa Izin Tinggal Terbatas) is the limited stay permit visa, a prerequisite to the issuance of the ITAS.
In this article, we discuss the procedures and documentation required for obtaining an ITAS.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
In a bid to attract more investment to support the country’s economic growth, Indonesia recently issued a new regulation granting a 100 percent Corporate Income Tax (CIT) cut to new FDI-backed businesses.
Further, the new regulation grants tax holidays to new investors in any of the 17 pioneer industries including transportation, telecommunications, robotic components, oil and gas refinery, train engines, medical devices, pharmaceutical raw materials, power plant machinery, and processing of metals and agricultural products among others. Pioneer industries are those that create added value, introduce advanced technology and have strategic value for the national economy. Previously, the provision was available to only eight such industries.
By: Vasundhara Rastogi
Strategically positioned along major sea lines connecting East Asia, South Asia, and Oceania, Indonesia holds a natural appeal for foreign investors. The country is the largest archipelago in the world, consisting of five main islands – Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua – and about 30 smaller archipelagos totaling approximately 17,508 islands. Aside from its geographical reach to major international markets, the country houses over 250 million people offering a viable domestic market for investors. In addition, the country has relatively low wage rates, which provide a cost-effective source of manpower for investors.
Indonesia is rich in natural resources, mainly energy fuels, minerals, and abundant forests that provide important raw materials for industry, thereby offering a comparative advantage for investment. Apart from natural resources, the services and industrial sectors are key economic drivers, accounting for 46 percent and 40 percent of the country’s total GDP, respectively.
By: Vasundhara Rastogi
Spread across more than 17,500 islands, the Indonesian archipelago is a pivotal trading hub in Southeast Asia. The island country borders Malaysia, Timor-Leste, and Papua New Guinea by land, and Christmas Island, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and Palau by sea.
In 2016, Indonesia exported US$140 billion worth of goods and imported US$ 132 billion, resulting in a positive trade balance. The country’s top export destinations are China (US$16.8 billion), the United States (US$16.2 billion), Japan (US$16.2 billion), Singapore (US$11.2 billion), and India (US$10.1 billion). The country imports predominantly from China (US$32.1 billion), Singapore (US$25.8 billion), Japan (US$11.3 billion), Malaysia (US$6.67 billion), and South Korea (US$6.61billion).
By: Linh Tran Huy
Editor: Thibaut Minot
In the first part of this two-part article, we discussed France’s investments in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Reiterating the continued importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a FDI destination for European investors, we look at French FDI in Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia in this concluding part.
By Bradley Dunseith
In April, 2017, the World Bank (WB) released their biannual East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, entitled, “Sustaining Resilience.” As the title suggests, the WB anticipates growth in East Asia and Pacific, including ASEAN states, to remain resilient despite risks from global and regional vulnerabilities. In this article, we go through “Sustaining Resilience” and summarize the WB’s forecast for developing ASEAN states generally as well as their country specific predictions for economic growth.
About the report
The WB predicts that large developing economies will continue to grow moderately while smaller regional economies will benefit from the rapid growth of their neighbors as well as high commodity prices. The WB marked that poverty has continued to decline in most countries and will continue to fall with sustained growth and rising labor incomes. However, the WB report noted that global policy uncertainties means that countries must address macroeconomic vulnerabilities so as to prepare for external shocks to the economy. External shocks – such as changes in US policy – disproportionately affect smaller countries; as such, the WB report strongly recommends small economics to improve the efficiency of their public spending in preparation of needed structural changes.
Indonesia: Largest car market in ASEAN
In 2016, 3.16 million cars were sold in the ASEAN region, according to the latest data from ASEAN Automotive Federation. Around 1.06 million cars, 33 percent of the total car sales, were sold in Indonesia. Thailand follows at second place with 768,788 cars. However, Thailand leads in terms of car production among the ASEAN countries. The country produced 1.94 million vehicles, accounting for almost 50 percent of total ASEAN manufacturing. Indonesia produced 1.17 million cars in 2016.
Industry experts believe Indonesia’s dependency on foreign investment for the automobile sector and the lack of components manufacturing industry will impede its manufacturing capabilities in comparison to Thailand’s current manufacturing capacity. Unlike manufacturing, car sales will continue to see a growth in Indonesia due to a growing economy and increase in purchasing power. Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam follow Indonesia and Thailand in terms of car sales.
Malaysia – EU trade to grow by 20-30 percent
Malaysian and EU authorities expect the proposed Malaysia-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will increase trade volumes from 10 percent to 20-30 percent. The growth is based on EU’s existing FTA with South Korea, which grew by 35 percent in the last five years. Both South Korea and Malaysia have similar EU trade volumes. Both parties are pushing to implement the agreement by the end of 2017. The countries met at the ASEAN Regional Seminar on Transit and Transshipment along with eight ASEAN member states.
Malaysia’s trade with EU has moved away from being a participant country to sharing best practices, especially in the area of export control after they implemented the Strategic Trade Act (STA) 2010. The act is an export control law that encourages exports of strategic items. Both parties also focused on trade laws, transit and transshipment regulations, regional cooperation, and challenges in building strategic trade controls. EU is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner, with the last three years witnessing a positive trade balance and a growing number of EU companies investing in Malaysia.
Malaysia: World’s best country to invest
According to a recent report by Y&R’s BAV Consulting, The Wharton School, and US News & World Report, Malaysia leads as the best country for investments. The report based on a survey of business decision-makers on corruption, dynamism, economic stability, entrepreneurship, tax environment, innovation, labor force, and technological expertise ranks Singapore a close second. Industry experts believe robust growth, stable inflation rate, and low unemployment rates in the past few years provide a conducive environment for investors.
Industries such as services, infrastructure, manufacturing, tourism, education, and construction which are the focus of the 2017 Budget and 11MP Economic Plan, are expected to attract majority of the investment. Industry experts believe the country has a shortage of scientific and technical workforce that can still discourage few investors. The average annual labor productivity growth between 2011 and 2015 was 1.8 percent, less than 11MP target of 3.7 percent. Investors seeking to produce for exports and operating in free trade zones will find Malaysia an efficient economy, while on the other hand, accessing local markets will still be challenging for investors due to non-transparent tender processes.