Indonesia Courts State for Business Deals

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Feature Editor Indonesia wants to do business with Oklahoma and the United States. It wants to increase both import and export business and entice tourists to Bali and the other "wonders of Indonesia." That was the message throughout an Indonesian trade forum hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Monday at the Waterford Hotel. A trade delegation of about 30 Indonesian government and business people arrived in Oklahoma Sunday at the end of a four-city U.S. tour and will begin the return trip to Indonesia today. Specific product areas that the Indone- sians would be most interested in importing from Oklahoma are some of its high-tech manufactured products and beef breeding stock to improve and enlarge its livestock herd, said Abdul Rachman Ramly, Republic of Indonesia ambassador to the United States. "We are interested in improving the nutrition of our people, and having meat certainly is important to that," he said. Ramly said Indonesia has had a special kinship with Oklahoma for many years because the economy of both formerly was based heavily on oil and gas production. Like Oklahoma, it has been forced to diversify its economy due to changes in the world petroleum marketing system. The economy has reversed from being made up of 60 percent oil and 40 percent other indus- tries in the early 1980s to 40 percent oil at present, he said. Ramly formerly was president of the Indonesian National Oil Co. before becoming ambassador. He recalls a visit of a delegation of 20 Oklahomans led by Secretary of Commerce Don Paulsen to Indonesia. Some of those Indonesian government officials Paulsen met on that trip were in the delegation visting Oklahoma. Many Indonesian petroleum engi- neering students have been and still are being sent to Oklahoma State University and schools in Tulsa to study and earn degrees. Ramly said he also had been to Oklahoma State University. Indonesia uses a flight simulator for pilot training which was made in Tulsa. He said his country will be a customer for more similar high-tech equipment from Oklahoma in the future. Social and cultural aspects of doing business with Indonesia and other AESAN countries (Indonesia, the Philip- pines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singa- pore) was emphasized during the trade forum. "You need to be patient, have perseverance and be imaginative to do business in Indonesia. This should be a two-way traffic of trade. One-to-one business contact is very important to us. The personal contact is still very good. After we know each other better, business will be better," said Dr. J. Soedradjad Djiwandono, Indonesia& Junior Minister of Trade. He said Indonesia has had no foreign exchange control since 1968. "Indonesia is a country with an open economy . . . You don't have to report the amount of exchange (money) you are carrying in or carrying out of the country. In the United States you have to report more than $10,000. We are more and more open, and our economy is more and more export," he said. "We are the fifth largest nation in population, about 185 million people. We are depending more and more on the export growth . …