Late last month, Indonesian Trade minister Gita Wirjawan stood down to concentrate on his long-anticipated campaign for the Indonesian Presidency. Wirjawan has set the tone for Indonesian inward investment and trade policy for half a decade, and that tone has been a pragmatic mix of openness and intervention. Under Wirjawan, Jakarta has taken a series of measures designed in large part to force change in Indonesia’s trade profile – substituting a higher level of value-added production for a heavy dependence on raw commodity exports. Handicapped by a party ticket in free fall and in a potential contest with Indonesia’s rising political superstar Joko Widodo, Wirjawan is very unlikely to win the Indonesian Presidency. But his political and policy style is likely to outlast him.
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