The Indonesian government has urged businesses to strengthen their competitiveness in order to avoid losses when Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic integration accelerates with the formation of the regional Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Addressing a recent meeting held by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Minister of Industry Hidayat said the influx of goods from other ASEAN members will flood the domestic market, thus local manufacturers will lose out in trading goods.

He said Indonesia needs to learn from the implementation of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area since 2010 as China’s goods have dominated the Indonesian market by undercutting local prices for the same products.

Citing the similarities of products manufactured by neighbouring ASEAN members, he said Indonesia will have to compete in the same market segments.

According to Hidayat, the 2015 AEC will provide both opportunities and challenges. Thus, local manufacturers should improve their competitive edge by raising goods value, reducing their dependence on imported materials and applying technology to increase productivity and quality.

With 240 million people, Indonesia is the largest economy and has the biggest population in ASEAN.-VNA