Date
23 September 2017
Indonesia’s investment agency said it is pushing to allow 80-100 percent foreign ownership of cinemas, which are now off limits to foreign investors. Photo: Reuters
Indonesia’s investment agency said it is pushing to allow 80-100 percent foreign ownership of cinemas, which are now off limits to foreign investors. Photo: Reuters

Indonesia to ease rules on foreign investment

Faced with sluggish economic growth, Indonesia is working on a major revamp of its rules on foreign investment.

The changes could open the door for overseas companies to take bigger stakes in domestic firms and gain a foothold in new industries, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Government officials aim to finish discussions on a first round of easing by the end of the month.

Talks are focused on a list of sectors, including e-commerce and pharmaceuticals, in which the government now limits or prevents foreign investment.

“To me, the [list] is like a list of added imports. If we prohibit foreigners, it means they’re forced to build their factories outside” the country,” Trade Minister Tom Lembong was quoted as saying.

Foreign businesses, which pour billions of dollars into Southeast Asia’s largest economy each year, making up for local capital shortfalls, have long pushed for changes to a list they say has grown more restrictive over the years.

President Joko Widodo has promised to ease investment restrictions for foreigners and locals alike in an effort to bolster the beleaguered economy.

The country’s investment agency said it is pushing to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership of pharmaceutical ventures, from 85 percent at present, and 80-100 percent foreign ownership of cinemas, which are now off limits to foreign investors.

Another proposal would open up all hotels to full foreign ownership. Only five-star hotels are eligible now, with a 51 percent foreign ownership cap on all others.

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RC/FL

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