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Indonesia Trade Minister Rejects Protectionist Label
CNBC.com | March 13, 2012 | 04:29 AM EDT

Indonesia's Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan told CNBC on Tuesday that Southeast Asia's largest economy was not adopting protectionist policies and was only following in the footsteps of other developed countries.

In a statement emailed to CNBC the minister said, "We disagree with the opinion that getting closer to standards and best practices already set by developed economies to protect local consumers from possible dangers posed on to their health, safety, comfort and the environment is protectionist."

The minister's comment comes less than a week after Indonesia unveiled a new mining law, limiting foreign ownership in the industry to 49 percent from 80 percent previously. The decree was signed into law by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on February 21 and made public on the mining ministry's website last week.

Wirjawan added that, "Indonesia is fully committed to transform the raw (materials) -based economy to climb up the value chain with strategic investments from domestic and international partners."

But Robert Prior-Wandesforde, Director of Asia Economics at Credit Suisse, says the new mining regulation is not good news for foreign investors.

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