Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced plans to open his country’s economy to foreign investment, the latest step in his initiative to liberalize the island nation.
Addressing an audience of American executives at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) trade conference in San Francisco Wednesday, Joko said that he would say “Hasta la vista, baby” to old restrictions that have kept Indonesia’s economy — Southeast Asia’s largest — inaccessible to foreign firms and actors, Reuters reported.
He said he was no longer satisfied with the economic strategy he announced last week — a plan that would open 30 subsectors of the Indonesian economy, including the film and restaurant industries, and allow foreign investors to hold majority stakes in the health care, telecommunications and other sectors. He also said that the country’s economic performance is beating expectations, with a stable rupiah currency and stock indices that avoided the rout suffered by U.S. and Chinese markets in recent months.
“Please understand that we are still only at the beginning,” Joko said. “We will still continue to simplify, continue to open up, continue to modernize our rules and regulations.”
Joko, popularly known as Jokowi, was among a cohort of Asian leaders recently in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for a U.S.-ASEAN summit.
While in California, he paid his respects to the tech stalwarts of Silicon Valley. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Google’s Sundar Pichai all posted on social media to note their meetings with the President and his wife Iriana.
“Today we had a good conversation about continuing to work together to increase connectivity and extend the opportunities of the internet to everyone in Indonesia,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It was an honor to host President Widodo and great to see him again.”
— With reporting by Yenni Kwok