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Indonesia is a country where over 50% of the population is under the age of 30. It is a country where the GDP has maintained an annual growth rate of 5% - despite “regulatory slowdowns” that many on the ground here believe could add 2-3% to that figure. And it is a country where hiring an immigration services facilitator to obtain an entry visa and clear customs is advisable, lest the traveler incur their own “regulatory slowdown.”

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With the economic struggles of many emerging markets, Indonesia has been one of the few bright spots. The economy is expected to meet expectations and grow 5% this year, the fourth highest rate among emerging markets. The fact that Indonesia has been able to keep its economy growing is impressive, especially with the many outside factors that have significantly impacted other emerging markets.

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Since last year, the rupiah has lost 10% of its value against the dollar. This is a serious matter following the Indonesian government, despite the fact that the country is currently welcoming delegations to the World Economic Forum. President Joko Widodo has promised stronger economic growth for the country, and has implemented measures to combat the currency decline. The Indonesian government hopes that by lifting visa fees for tourists and changing tax regulations, the value of the rupiah may rise again.

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This past year was considered a significant year for the global airline industry. The disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 and the explosion of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 in the Ukraine war zone have raised questions about the safety of Asia’s low-cost airliners. Meanwhile, as oil prices drop, the cost of operating airlines will definitely decrease, but it may or may not help the global airline industry.

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An important economic issue that is affecting several countries is the rising number of shadow businesses: businesses unregistered with their country's government. These businesses exchange goods and services, both legal and illegal, without paying taxes to their government. Typical examples of these include small taxicab services, roadside food stalls, and drug dealing. These businesses are causing concern because of their increasing prevalence in developing countries, which many worry is crippling economic growth and development. Other countries with smaller numbers shadow businesses are looking for ways to try and incorporate the operations of these businesses into their national economies. Here is a closer look.

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In 2001, economist Jim O’Neill identified the world’s strongest emerging economies as the BRIC countries, which is an acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India, and China.  Thirteen years later, O’Neill has offered another acronym defining today’s emerging economic powerhouses – the MINT countries.  Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey all show signs of strong future GDP growth and the potential to become major players in the global economy.

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As the rupiah reached a five-year low on Dec. 23, 2013, the Indonesian government began to worry about the nation’s economy. It soon announced increased levels of foreign investment in the country's power plants, advertising, and pharmaceutical industries in order to boost the slowing economy. However, some people are concerned that this move will bring many challenges to the nation .

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In 2010, Emirates ordered 32 new A380 macrojets from Airbus, which opened the door for the airline market in India. Shortly after this, Airbus announced Monday that it had a received an order for $24 billion worth of new single-aisle jets from the Indonesian budget airline Lion Air. While the world is expecting growth of the airline industry in developing countries, the global air traffic industry is actually shrinking. Let’s examine the global air traffic industry and analyze the various factors affecting the business environment of the industry.

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The Indonesian economy is known globally for many things: tourism, agriculture, and defense.  But maybe transport manufacturing should be added to the list.  The production of Indonesian factories were most efficient all year last month; According to a report by Markit Economics and HSBC Bank, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for Indonesia's manufacturing sector increased from 50.5 in September to 51.9 in October.  Any reading above 50 on a PMI indicates expansion, which can be attributed to a multitude of variables.  However, the prime conclusion has been that the increase in PMI is a direct reflection of higher order intakes.  This is most apparent in Indonesia's auto industry.

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Without government involvement, Indonesia is experiencing good times with one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. Needless to say, things could have been even better if the government provided assistance to help the economy and take Southeast Asia’s largest economy to a whole new level. It has been estimated that if Indonesia made certain changes to its economy, each citizen would be more than forty percent wealthier by 2030. Also by this time, if it has the right reforms and remains on this path, it would be the world’s sixth largest economy. The main areas of renovation would be the outdated infrastructure along with the increase in bureaucrats.

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This past week, ratings agency Standards & Poor’s warned India that it risks a sovereign debt downgrade which would result in the country falling off the list of an investment grade country. Currently, India is rated at the lowest investment grade rating – BBB. Falling below this level would mean that India bonds would be considered junk bonds. Much of the blame is assigned to the Prime Minister, notes S&P, pointing out specific problems with the political system “that has more gridlock than the United States,” coupled with high inflation and a falling currency and GDP.

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Indonesia’s economy grew by 6.5% in 2011, marking the highest percentage in over a decade.  This GDP growth, however, is not unprecedented because in seven of the last eight years Indonesia’s GDP has grown by more than 5%.  In the last couple of years, corporations and investors have begun to compare Indonesia’s economic growth potential with the likes of India and China.  Strong growth and political stability are two of the main reasons why corporations and investors share this confidence.

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Sustainability is a huge topic in modern business, as corporations and environmental groups alike strive to create more sustainable methods of production.  For Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil, sustainability has been a sticking point.  In the last three decades, plantations have expanded by over 2000 percent, and the total land area currently devoted to palm oil production is an estimated 7 million hectares.  Some corporations around the world are realizing the negative environmental effects of palm oil production and are choosing to begin using only palm oil that is considered sustainable.

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The widely accepted “BRIC” designation for the world’s largest emerging economies may soon be in need of a revision.  In fact, some international business scholars have felt for many years that Jim O’Neill’s term for the developing nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China should be updated to include at least one additional country.  Morgan Stanley publicly stated as early as two years ago that the commonly referenced acronym should be revised to “BRIIC” in order to include the rapidly growing economy of Indonesia

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With its close proximity to Canada and Mexico, most United States exporters export to only one market and unsurprisingly this market is usually Canada. However, many smaller companies that work with the U.S. Commercial Service have found other great markets filled many new customers. Some of the best markets with countless opportunities for U.S. companies are Vietnam, India, Indonesia, India, China, Taiwan and Thailand. You can learn more about these markets by watching these videos on India, Indonesia, and Vietnam posted on the Export.gov website. With these videos, you will learn about some of the many sectors in these markets where U.S. companies are competitive. In the videos, you will also be introduced to the top U.S. commercial diplomats in these markets who will help your company evaluate and enter exciting new markets.

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In 2001, global economist Jim O’Neill labeled Brazil, Russia, India, and China as the premier emerging markets of the world with enormous economic potential. The mainstream BRIC acronym was applied to these countries and the hype surrounding these countries was well deserved. Over the past decade, the countries have contributed to over a third of world GDP growth. Recently, Jim O’Neill named the next tier of large emerging economies using the term MIST – or Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey.

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Indonesia and Vietnam have decided to team up to boost their local tourism. The two countries already have put effort into increasing the trade between them.  Indonesian companies have invested in over 20 different projects in Vietnam. Now, they want to continue into the tourism industry.

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Until recently China was the world’s largest exporter of coal. While it is still the largest producer, a new exporter has come on to the map. Indonesia recently surpassed China in the market for exporting coal. Many Chinese power stations are even importing coal from Indonesia rather than obtaining it from within its own borders.