Jakarta, May 26 (Antara) - Indonesia, which is a major player in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), must accelerate its preparations to face the region`s market integration in 2015.
Described as having 40 percent of the region`s economic resources or the Greater ASEAN, Indonesia must improve the competitive edge of its products and services, improve its human resources and prepare regulations.
When the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is implemented in 2015, not only commodities and services will move freely within the region but also other products, including manpower.
In this case, Indonesia must prepare itself to improve the quality not only of its goods and services but also of its human skills, so that it would not serve as a mere market for other countries in the region. It should also become a big exporter of skilled workers. After all, Indonesia has a population of about 240 million.
"To face the AEC`s formation in 2015, Indonesia needs to increase its competitive power," ASEAN Competitiveness Institute Chairman Soy Pardede said during a seminar on Indonesia Banking Expo (IBEX 2013) at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta on Friday.
According to him, Indonesia has a big population and competitive power with abundant human resources to become a major player in the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
Besides, he added that unlike other ASEAN countries, Indonesia also has abundant natural resources and strategic geographic position.
"Therefore, all parties, including business makers, the government, the House of Representatives and the Business Competition Supervisory Commission should cooperate to support Indonesia to become a main player for AEC-2015," he said.
Thus, there is no reason for Indonesia to be concerned in the face the ASEAN market integration which will be implemented in the next two years.
"The ASEAN Free Trade is not a threat but a big opportunity," Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Suryo Bambang said on Saturday.
Suryo made the remarks in response to the concerns of a number of people who questioned Indonesia`s readiness to face the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
He said that it was logical if some questioned Indonesia`s readiness because up to now the government and the private sector had not yet shown integrated preparations in the face of AEC.
The same opinion was also voiced by state-owned bank BNI economist Ryan Kiranto.
"AEC poses both challenges and opportunities. So, we may not remain silent and just complain but make ourselves ready to face the implementation of the AEC," Ryan Kiryanto said in a seminar on Indonesia Banking Expo (IBEX) 2013 at the Jakarta Convention Center on Friday.
He said that AEC enhances the existing free trade. If the previous free trade only covers products, the AEC is enhanced to also cover other sectors of service, investment and manpower.
Ryan said that Indonesia so far was known as the Greater ASEAN because Indonesia had 40 percent of the region`s economic resources. Therefore, the Indonesian economic players should be ready to face the AEC.
"At present, there have been many foreign workers and consultants who have entered Indonesia. This is actually a chance for Indonesia to also enter other countries. The question is that how high is its competitiveness?" he questioned.
To allow equal and fair movement of manpower within the region, ASEAN needs to have commitment to prepare human resources.
According to Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar, the commitment of ASEAN member countries to prepare their human resources is a key to success in the face of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
"The joint efforts of ASEAN member nations to increase the quality of their human resources must be made with a standardized training and work competence. This would serve as a barometer for the advancement of cooperation in the region," Minister Muhaimin Iskandar said after opening the 9th Senior Labor Officials` Meeting (SLOM) of ASEAN in Semarang, Central Java, on Tuesday last week (May 14).
Muhaimin said that if a standardization of human resources quality was not prepared since the beginning, ASEAN will have problems in the face of global challenges and competitions from advanced nations.
Therefore, standardization of human resources` competence should soon be prepared to shape the future of ASEAN in the face of globalized world. All ASEAN members should prepare skills, expertise and work competence standards.
"We would like to remind educators in all ASEAN members of the need to include in their curricula subjects on the standards of international work competence," noted Muhaimin.
He said that education, courses, trainings, vocational schools and universities must pay attention to the work competence standards at least for the ASEAN level so that all educational curricula in ASEAN would meet the standards and would be recognized at the international level.
With regard to investment, bank BNI economist Ryan Kirnto said AEC also offers opportunities to Indonesia because its investors could make their investment within the region. Therefore, Ryan said, Indonesia needed to make mature preparations and cooperation between the government and industries.
"However, banks and industries in Indonesia should continue to give priorities to domestic penetration so that domestic industries would remain the master in their own houses. They should not be trapped by the euphoria of investment overseas," Ryan said.
Therefore, according to Kadin Chairman Suryo Bambang, Indonesian business world should remain optimistic about the AEC and will not make it a zone of unhealthy competition.
"It is expected that each ASEAN member will benefit from the free market and we hope that our business world will continue to improve its competitive edge," said Suryo.
The other aspect that has to be prepared in the face of the market integration in the region is regulation.
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said in an ASEAN summit in Brunei Darussalam recently that member countries needed to prepare regulations to face the implementation of the AEC in 2015.
"The ASEAN member countries are now in the phase of accelerating their preparations in the run-up to the AEC 2015. They need to prepare regulations regarding the implementation of AEC in 2015," Marty said.
"It is not merely adopting an agreement but also implementing it. In the following phase, when we already reach 100 percent, we should assure that all commitments are connected to the law and national regulations," he said.
He said that Indonesia now was continuing to make preparations in the face of the AEC 2015. ***3***