OK this time is another example of a report on seminar attended.
But once more I’d like to remind you several things in preparing a seminar report.
1) write down your impressions of the seminar and the presenter as soon after the event as possible and while everything is still fresh in your mind. Don’t postpone too long, your immediate evaluation is a necessity.
2)Identify the elements of the seminar that resonated the most positively with you, and those are mostly the key ideas in the presentation, which should be based entirely on what you personally got out of it
3)Identify the full title of the seminar you attended, the date, time and location of the program, and the name of the speakers of the seminar.
4) Assess whether the presenter had the credentials and the experience to make their material and its context credible.
5) Don’t forget to type your report 🙂
Here we go….
Title : Free Trade and the Economic Relationship between the United States and Indonesia
Date : May 26, 2015
Venue : Arifin Panigoro Auditorium Universitas Al Azhar Indonesia (UAI), Komplek Masjid Agung Al Azhar, Jakarta Selatan
The workshop was interesting enough and gave me the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to free trade and economic relationship between America and Indonesia. I will describe briefly below some elements in the workshop.
– The Lecturer was His Excellency Robert O. Blake, the Ambassador of the United States for the Republic of Indonesia. He can deliver his materials comprehensively to all audience.
– The Executive Lecture was started at 10.30 a.m. The participants are mostly students of UAI from various faculties and departments. I was the only guest from government institution, the rest were media representatives, such as CNN, Republika, SCTV, Antaranews, and many other online medias.
– The session was started first by the Recitation of Holy Qur’an Surah Al Al Mujadaah: 11, followed by the Opening Remarks of the Director of UAI, Prof. Dr. Ir. Sardy Sar, M.Eng.Sc. He welcomed the US Ambassador and mentioned UAI vision of becoming a leading university in developing excellent and dignified persons, who have intellectual capability, based on Islamic spiritual, moral, and ethical values. Therefore, the seminar was in line with one of their missions: to tighten partnership with relevant domestic and international institutions and to apply universal Islamic values in character building.
– The rest of the session was led by the moderator Nazaruddin Nasution, UAI lecturer from Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and a former Indonesian Ambassador for Cambodia 2000-2003. He briefly described the CV of Ambassador Blake and overviewed the start of the diplomatic relationship between the US and Indonesia in 1949. He also cited President Jokowi remarks on fostering Indonesian economic growth and alleviating poverty, and how trade and economic relationship between the US and Indonesia can help President Jokowi reach his goals.
– The lecture was started at 10.55. Ambassador Blake explained comprehensively about the underlying reason why a nation should trade with other countries. Countries have different natural, human, and capital resources and different ways of combining these resources, they are not equally efficient at producing the goods and services that their residents demand. When a country can produce more of a good with the same resources that another country can, it is said to have an absolute advantage in the production of that good. If the second country has an absolute advantage in producing a good that the first country wants, both will be better off if they specialize and trade. But trade is usually beneficial to both countries even if one has an absolute advantage in the production of both goods that are to be traded. Given any two products, a nation has a comparative advantage in the product with the lower opportunity cost. The terms of trade must be such that both countries lower the opportunity costs of the goods they are getting from the trade.
– Mr. Blake emphasized that trade creates opportunities that suit every needs, such as in agriculture, manufacture and technology. Reducing barriers of trade can help to provide more job opportunities and eventually alleviate poverty in the US and Indonesia. 2015 is the year when countries shape and adopt a new development agenda that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially the eighth agenda of developing a global partnership for development. So, Indonesia should lever its trade to increase its economic growth.
– Mr. Blake also explained that the United States has free trade agreements in force with 20 countries. Some of them are Australia, Bahrain, Canada, South American countries, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, and Singapore. Those countries enjoy the benefit of their economic relationship. Mr Blake mentioned the United States is also in negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) with the European Union, with the objective of shaping a high-standard, broad-based regional pacts. He said that the trade with those countries help unlock opportunity for American families, workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers through increased access to European markets for Made-in-America goods and services. This helps to promote U.S. international competitiveness, jobs and growth. Indonesia can learn from this Transatlantic Trade that trade fosters Indonesia to keep up with the challenge of becoming a competitive investment target.
– Mr. Blake cited President Obama’s trade agenda to expanding economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. That’s why they are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century trade agreement that will boost U.S. economic growth, support American jobs, and grow Made-in-America exports to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing countries in the world. Blake mentioned a few of the ways the trade between the US and Indonesia will unlock some opportunities for Indonesia:
– it will support made-in-Indonesia exports to America
– it will enforce fundamental labor rights
– it will promote strong environmental protection
– it will help Indonesian small businesses (SMEs) benefit from trade
– Mr. Blake urged that we cannot stop global economy to grow, so Indonesia should have a commitment to improve labor practices, job creations, and elevate environmental standards in order to be competitive for the global trade, since investors always try to get the best deal with any country. Indonesia is faced with strategic choice, a strong economic relationship is also crucial for its growth.
– After the lecture, there was a Question and Answer Session led by the moderator. Due to the Ambassador’s tight agenda that day, there were only 3 questions allowed. The first question from a student from English department asking whether US free trade with Indonesia will be like one with the Middle East countries. Mr. Blake shortly answered that MEFTA (with Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, Israel, and Jordan) since 2013 has already assisted the Middle East countries in implementing domestic reforms, instituting the rule of law, protecting private property rights (including intellectual property), and creating a foundation for openness, economic growth, and prosperity. The second question from a student from Law Department asking about how loosening free trade means more opportunities. Mr. Blake replied that trade boosts economic growth and economic growth means more jobs. It is also true that some jobs are lost even when trade is expanding, but it is caused by a number of factors. Protectionism is not the way to tackle employment problems, and many examples show that freer trade has been healthy for employment. The last question is from a student from Faculty of Economics asking about free trade in terms of the exchange of creative sector between Indonesia and the United States. Mr. Blake put some examples on some Indonesian industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, and they have a potential for wealth and job creation through the exploitation of intellectual property traded with America, such as Video Games studio in Yogyakarta, Jakarta filmmakers, fashion, and so on.
– After the seminar, there was a Kolintang Ensemble, musical presentation by students of UAI, followed by exchanging souvenirs between UAI and the US Embassy. The MC closed the session at 12.50 WIB.
– My final remark about this executive lecture: it was not professionally organized by the committee. There were no satisfying welcome to participants, I signed the guest book without anyone sitting in front of the reception desk. The seminar started 30 minutes late as the scheduled plan. There were no seminar kits, handouts nor any visuals given by the committee nor by the US delegates, so I found it a bit challenging for me as I have limited knowledge on economic topics. I had to note down things attentively in order not to lose any points. No drinks and snacks for the participants, those are only given to the lecturer, the moderator, and the Director of UAI. In my view, this makes me feel a loss of respect to UAI and its future executive lecture series.
Jakarta, May 28, 2015
Efi Dyah Indrawati