Pence softens Trump’s trade talk during Indonesia visit – Nikkei Asian Review

JAKARTA — During a visit to Jakarta on April 21, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence diluted some of the anti-trade rhetoric espoused by his recently-elected boss, President Donald Trump, saying that his country and Indonesia “can and will do more to expand commerce.” “We seek trade with Indonesia that is free and fair,” Pence said, adding that “we seek to create a win-win trading relationship for both of our nations and all of our people.” His comments mark a change in tone from the zero-sum views on trade coming from the White House under President Trump, rhetoric that prompted Washington to compile a list of 16 countries — including Indonesia — that have trade deficits with the U.S. Pence, who was on the second day of a visit to Indonesia after stopovers in South Korea and Japan and before heading on to Australia, announced that American companies, including ExxonMobil, General Electric and Lockheed Martin, would sign “11 major deals worth more than $10 billion” in Indonesia.

Indonesia targets shell companies under tax amnesty – Nikkei Asian Review

JAKARTA — The Indonesian government is requiring individuals or entities that want to take part in its new tax amnesty program to dissolve any shell companies they own overseas. The move comes as the central bank warned that assets declared and repatriated under the amnesty will fall short of targets. The new finance ministry decree, containing the latest technical details of the tax amnesty law, says that if the person only partially owns an overseas shell company then they must relinquish their stake in the relevant country. They are also given an option to relocate the company to Indonesia and register it as a local entity. “This regulation is for special purpose vehicles […] that don’t actively run businesses,” said Astera Primanto Bhakti, a Finance Ministry official. The tax office estimates that there are at least 2,500 offshore companies whose assets actually belong to Indonesians, but which were not declared as such. The majority of these companies were allegedly established to evade Indonesia’s tax laws.

Indonesian court rejects challenge to presidential election results – Los Angeles Times

JAKARTA – Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to results in last month’s presidential election, clearing the way for Joko Widodo to become President. The unanimous decision, which is not open to appeal, took over six hours to deliver in court. As the reading began, several hundred supporters of the defeated ticket lurched into police lines 500 yards away, trying to break a barricade.