The Council maintains dialogues and working relationships with policymakers in the Government of Indonesia and in important think tanks, business groups, and the media in Indonesia. The Council’s industry-specific business visits to Indonesia (such as the clean energy policy dialogue this summer) are punctuated each year by its annual or semi-annual Indonesia Business Mission representing all sectors. The business mission provides member delegates with an opportunity to meet the most senior leadership in the Government of Indonesia, to confer with advocacy partners in the business community there and to be briefed by the American Ambassador and his team at the US Embassy. The business mission, as with all Council visits to Indonesia, is structured to accommodate member requests for meetings or events that would be of benefit to the Council’s goals.


The deepening US-Indonesia relationship has resulted in a plethora of visits by Indonesian policymakers and thought-leaders to the United States. The Council invites relevant visitors to meet with Council members. Council members continuing dialogues, in particular, with the Ministers of Trade and Finance, the Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board, and the international economic advisor to the President.


The Council has fielded a permanent office, led by its Indonesia Representative in Jakarta since 2003. Today, the Council’s Indonesia Representatives, Ms. Desi Indrimayutri brings a wealth of Indonesia experience and important connections to the benefit of Council members. Desi is available to members to assist in formulating advocacy strategy, communicating with government officials, arranging meetings for members in Indonesia, clarifying and reporting on government policy and actions, and responding to all member requests in Indonesia.


In 2007, the US-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was raised to the Minister-level. Participation of the United States Trade Representative reflected the depth of issues being discussed in the TIFA as well as the successful negotiation of an agreement to combat illegal logging, the first agreement of the expanded TIFA. In November 2010, President Obama and President Yudhoyono officially launched the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership during President Obama’s historic visit to Jakarta. Cooperation under the Comprehensive Partnership is outlined in a Plan of Action consisting of three pillars: political and security; economic and development; and socio-cultural, education, science, and technology cooperation. Six working groups have been tasked with coordinating strategies and highlighting policy initiatives and priorities under the Plan of Action. These groups focus on energy, security, trade and investment, democracy and civil society, education, and climate and environment. The U.S. Secretary of State and the Indonesian Foreign Minister co-chair a Joint Commission to ensure continued momentum to sustain the Partnership. In addition, the U.S.-Indonesia Commercial Dialogue, which the Council serves on the Steering Committee of, was launched in November 2011, and focuses on industrial cooperation and trade facilitation through a private sector project process. Today, the US and Indonesia enjoy a relationship punctuated by the unique fact that each nation’s president has lived in the other’s country.


Indonesia is a culturally-rich archipelago spanning the Indian and Pacific oceans. Consisting of more than 17,000 islands and 300 ethnic groups, Indonesia is among the most diverse nations in the world and is thriving as the world’s third largest democracy. Boasting an economy growing at more than 5% annually (5.5% estimated for 2009 and 6.0% estimated for 2010), Indonesia is by far the largest market in Southeast Asia. A member of the G-20 group of nations and of APEC, Indonesia has a permanent presence on the world economic stage. Indonesia is on track to conclude a closer diplomatic and economic relationship with the United States with the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership expected to be finalized in 2010. Indonesia was among the first countries visited by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Historically, Indonesia has been a resource-rich land, integral to spices, rubber, and minerals trades. A center of power for Javanese kings who had created Southeast Asia-wide tributary system, Portuguese explorers were the first to integrate Indonesia’s natural resource wealth into the European trading system. Colonial powers Spain, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Japan followed, each claiming supremacy over the country. During foreign occupations, however, an Indonesian Independence Movement gained in popularity and power and, under the leadership of Sukarno and Hatta, ousted the Dutch in 1949. Named President, Sukarno led Indonesia during the turbulent post-colonial era in Southeast Asia and established Indonesia as a leader in the Non-Aligned Movement. Sukarno was replaced by military leader Suharto in a coup in 1966. Suharto stabilized Indonesia under authoritarian rule, bringing steady economic growth and drawing Indonesia closer to the West, but clamping down on democratic reforms. The global financial crisis helped to unhinge the Suharto regime and, after 32 years of authoritarian rule, Indonesia’s democratic movement was thriving in 1998. As democratic reform began to set in under presidents Habibie, Abdul Rachman Wahid and Megawati Sukarnoputri, Indonesia finally elected its first president by direct vote in 2004, choosing Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, widely known as SBY. SBY was reelected resoundingly in 2009 and has promised to continue reforms to dismantle the cumbersome bureaucratic system that thrived under earlier authoritarian rule.

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