TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said that Indonesia could not avoid ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Jokowi said that today's economic competition involves competition between countries instead of individuals or cities.
"AEC will take off in a month. We can no longer slow it down or say we don't want it," said Jokowi on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Jokowi said that Indonesia will not only face AEC, but also other free trade systems, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership or free trade with the European Union.
Jokowi said that Indonesia will suffer losses if the country does not participate in AEC. According to Jokowi, Indonesian products will only be blocked from other countries. Jokowi also added that Indonesian products are ready to compete with products in the ASEAN region, even in Asia. "I was told earlier that cassava chips have entered Korea. I’m happy because it means that our products can compete," the President said.
President asked entrepreneurs who already has competitive power to be bold in penetrating other countries.
Jokowi also asked entrepreneurs not to be afraid because other countries are also afraid of Indonesian products entering the free trade scheme. "They are afraid that free trade will benefit Indonesia," Jokowi said, adding that all entrepreneurs must move together in order to be successful in AEC.
Jokowi continued that the current global economic slowdown will somewhat affects the AEC. However, the President believed that the slowdown should be viewed as a challenge to improve the economy instead of a threat.