Pence discusses barriers to U.S. companies with Indonesian president


UPDATE 1-Pence discusses barriers to U.S. companies with Indonesian president

(Updates with quotes and background)
    By Roberta RamptonJAKARTA, April 21 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence
said on Friday he discussed with Indonesian President Joko
Widodo barriers to U.S. companies operating in Southeast Asia's
largest economy.
    Pence arrived in Jakarta late on Wednesday to boost a
strategic partnership between the world's second- and
third-largest democracies, but a series of disputes Indonesia
has had with American firms has ruffled ties.
    "The president and I spoke about that very candidly and very
respectfully," Pence told round table discussion with business
executives on Friday in Jakarta.
    Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining
giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divest 51 percent
of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, and has
demanded that Google Inc. settle unpaid taxes of more than $400
million. Jakarta also scrubbed JP Morgan from its list of
primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research
    Nevertheless, Pence was due to witness the signing of more
than $10 billion in memoranda of understanding with U.S.
companies in Indonesia on Friday, a White House official said.
    The 11 deals would be signed with companies including Exxon
Mobil <XOM.N>, Lockheed Martin <LMT.N> and General Electric
<GE.N>. Pence is on the final day of a visit to Indonesia before
departing at midday for Australia.
    "We think there are opportunities to clear open the way for
American companies to participate more greatly in Indonesia,"
Pence said.
    Lin Neumann, managing director of the American Chamber of
Commerce in Indonesia, said most of the agreements were with
energy companies, which have been making "a  big push".
    Some U.S. companies have a technological edge while
Indonesia has a rising demand for power, "so that's a good fit",
 Neumann told Reuters.

 (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Fergus Jensen;
Editing by Bill Tarrant)
 ((; +62 21 2992 7604; Reuters


This article appears in: Stocks , World Markets , Politics , Oil
Referenced Symbols: GE , LMT , XOM

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