MARIA BARTIROMO: Mr. President, thank you for joining us today.
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: You’re welcome.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Good to see you. You’re having an investor day on Wall Street today. What are you hoping to achieve?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, by– having this… I could tell to my partners abroad on– Indonesia’s– progress in– economy. And– by this gathering I am able also to– offer them– opportunities that we may– that we may take together in the future.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Of course you’ve got investors watching right now. Indonesia, the 16th largest economy in the world, GDP of $850 billion. It’s really been one of the bright spots in the emerging markets in this global slowdown. And a new McKinsey report is predicting that the economy gets to the seventh largest– by 2030. What can you tell us in terms of your expectations for economic growth next year and in the coming years?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I am– pleased to say that even though we are facing– global economy crisis– but Indonesia is able to maintain our positive growth. We expect to achieve around 6.5% growth– next year. And with that– what we need is– a sustainable growth in the years to come– sustainable growth with equity. We are doing our best to maintain that– growth with– greater certainty and predictability. And we have to ensure that there are many components to be contributed to the maintenance of positive growth.
MARIA BARTIROMO: I know you’re expecting– the consumer class to really drive some of that growth. Where are the biggest growth areas in Indonesia right now– if investors are looking for growth spots? What will lead this growth?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, actually– we know that there is problem in our export as also faced by many– countries. But we could offset that kind of thing by having– a dramatic increase in our investment. And that is correct that we are able to maintain the—consuming of our people.
So there are– significant increase in our consuming class with higher purchasing power that they can– actually contribute to our growth. And you could find in many big cities– inside Java and also outside Java that– the people consumes more– not only– today but in the years to come so that the manufacture of our– source of– economy growth.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Investors of course want to see stability as well. Let me turn to some of the global issues that we’ve all been dealing with. The U.S. had closed diplomatic missions across Indonesia. Are those missions open now or are they still closed?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, actually– we have done our best in protecting all embassies in Indonesia including the U.S. embassies. And I have to see that the decision to close temporarily– the U.S. embassy is of course…to the– U.S. But– we are cooperating well. We are protecting the embassy and so far there is no big demonstration against the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. But I have to assure you that we are– responsible and will continue to do so to ensure that– all embassies can– accomplish their missions in Indonesia.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Tell me about this. Our audience wants to know really what– what’s behind this– demonstration and protesting outside embassies, protestors throwing rocks at the– certainly the embassy in Jakarta and other large cities. What is being done about it?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I think everybody knows that– that is a problem and I should say– the relation between civilizations, between– religion. And it happens not only in Indonesia, but also– in many worlds. So lesson to be learn is– we have to learn how to live together harmoniously by respecting other faith, other values, other– beliefs. And we could do that if all leaders and the global community work together to build harmony among civilization and to avoid the so-called clash of civilizations.
MARIA BARTIROMO: But you make– really important points. And I know that you’ll be talking about this at your speech at the U.N.– particularly as it relates to that film that we– that we saw. You said that that film was demeaning to Islam, Indonesia of course the world’s largest Muslim population. Here we are at the New York Stock Exchange, probably the epitome of free markets and capitalism. You also said that if such things were allowed to continue to happen there would be conflicts around the world. Do you suggest that the United States should curtail free speech?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I would like to say in this way of what there is– free speech, there is a human right and I– studied– thoroughly the universal declarations of human rights. But remember that– there is a limitation as well in exercising human right for all people, for all nations.
So what we have to do is to learn to each other the values, the perceptions, the local cultures. By doing that I believe it will do all countries, all people are having freedom of speech and human right we could– live more harmoniously. So that’s– my view in this connections.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Have you spoken to President Obama about this? What would you like the U.S. to do?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I will be delivering my speech– tomorrow before the General Assembly. And not only I have to– talk to President Obama and– other leaders that I appealed global community to– take this thing seriously– in a positive– attitude that we have to work together. On the one hand we have to respect– human right, freedom of speech, but on the other hand we have to be more sensitive in any– faith or culture and also belief because we are living in one world. So we have to live– together– in a better atmosphere.
MARIA BARTIROMO: What is the policy of free speech in Indonesia?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: We respect– freedom of speech. We have– freedom of the press, freedom assembly. And Indonesia is– I could say now is very noisy, it’s good for democracy. And I respect all those things to happen. So no problem at all in our democracy. And we will continue to nurture our democracy because democracy should also bring benefit to the people– to the stability. And with the stability we could build our economy to improve the welfare of the people.
MARIA BARTIROMO: This is very delicate. Do you feel that these past events have become damaging to the relationship with America?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: No– not at all because it happens– in international relations. One thing– I do believe that all leaders can take a very good lesson from that happenings and it will not– disrupt or damage our good relation, I mean, between Indonesia and the United States.
MARIA BARTIROMO: What is your sell if you will to foreign investors? You’d like to see foreign direct investment rise in Indonesia. Why should investors put money to work in your country?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I have to convince them that they will have a good…by doing investment in Indonesia because we do our homework. We improve our investment climate, we build in more infrastructures and we offer lot of opportunities in various…of economic cooperation in– in agriculture, in industry, in… across the country. So those things that I would like to– convey this to our partners and investors abroad including today and in this place.
MARIA BARTIROMO: One of the positives about your economy are the demographics, young people. You’ve got– some 60% of the population younger than 39 years old, 50% of the population younger than 29 years old. This is good news for consumerism– which is of course one of the areas you’re betting on. But how will you manage social unrest, young people getting upset about some of these things as it pertains to religion?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I adopt a policy– that on the one hand we stimulate growth because without growth we cannot create jobs, we cannot reduce poverty. But on the other hand we also develop a pro-poor policy– program– to take care of them, to– have a new deal to protect the poor when the crisis happens.
So by doing that I believe that we are able to narrow the gap of development between the haves and the have-not. And by doing that I do believe that everybody is included in our progress and development. And with that I believe very strongly that we’re able to manage social unrest in– in our country. It happens as well in many developing countries.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Well, what about the tensions growing– in the– South China Sea? As– a county with enormous interest in, you know, navigating the freedom of navigation, the sea lanes, the peaceful use of sea lanes, what can be done to resolve these issues even though Indonesia’s not directly involved in the tensions– of the– South China Sea?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: The Indonesian position is quite clear. We will contribute to the making of peace, stability and order in South China Sea. We appeal to China, to other– membership of ASEAN to pursue a peaceful solutions– to the dispute– in South China Sea. I chaired the East Asia Summit in Bali last year. And it was attended by President Obama, by the Chinese leaders and other leaders.
The spirit is quite clear that– we have to work together to maintain stability in South China Sea, respecting the international law, the free of navigations. And with that I do believe that– South China Sea will– be still peaceful. And with that we could– grow our economy. This is important thing– for– all of us in Asia.
MARIA BARTIROMO: And of course the growth in China has been very helpful in terms of– boosting the growth in Indonesia, your exports of raw materials, oil and other goods. Have you seen a slowdown in China? What does it feel like today?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, there is a slowdown of course in China– I witnessing nowadays. But I do believe that– China is able to recover. I don’t know– for how long. They have to suffer with the slowdown and its economy growth, but again when we could integrate our economy in East Asia and the US also in…actually we are still able to maintain– regional economy growth as a one pillars of the global economy.
MARIA BARTIROMO: I want to make sure we have your real– industry growth. And I don’t know that we touched on it enough earlier, so let me ask you again. What industries are driving the growth today in Indonesia?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well– we develop many–manufacturing– sector– automotive, electronics– and of course– I could say– chemical products. So we try to– change from mining–business to mining industry. So– the goal that we have pursued so far is to have a more added value, so not only rely on resources, but we need to as you have said earlier– to improve our industrial capability together with the service industry.
MARIA BARTIROMO: It’s a real balance because the economic story of Indonesia is very vibrant and yet the social unrest or the implications of what we’ve just seen in the last couple of weeks do threaten to interrupt that. How worried are you about an interruption to the vibrancy on the economy side of things as a result of upset from the Muslim community?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well, I have to be frank that Indonesia is a large country. There are one or two incidents, social unrest. They– might be…by, you know, national media or domestic media, but I assure you that actually– Indonesia relatively peaceful. There are many– social unrest, but it will not disturb the ongoing process of economic development. I believe– it very, very strongly.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Should the U.S. be afraid to send its people back to the missions?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: I don’t think so because actually– all embassies including U.S. embassy can function well in– in carrying out their duties. So– in Indonesia for sure I could guarantee that– everything will be back in normal.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Are you going to ask President Obama to change his policy in any way on free speech?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: I don’t– think– I’m not in a position to lecture any leader on this matter because one thing that I believe– all leaders– can take many lessons from is– what is happening now worldwide including the last incidents about the incidents of anti-Islam film. So I believe– in that–situation.
MARIA BARTIROMO: You’re Excellency, would you like to add anything else that I may have missed as it pertains to the investor class, putting money to work in Indonesia?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Well– actually what I have to say is– Indonesia is changing. Indonesia is progressing. There are– many– lot of opportunities come– to invest more and join us in our big endeavor.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Is that what you’ll be telling investors today during–
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: Yes.
MARIA BARTIROMO: –this investor day?
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: I have done it.
MARIA BARTIROMO: Thank you so much, Mr. President.
SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO: You’re welcome, you’re welcome. Thank you, thank you.