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Widodo determined to make Indonesia 'more open and competitive'

Indonesian President Joko Widodo speaks with The Nikkei in Jakarta on May 24. (Photo by Keiichiro Asahara)

JAKARTA -- Whipping Indonesia into fighting trim in an increasingly globalized world requires "deregulating the economy" and "accelerating infrastructure development," President Joko Widodo said in an exclusive interview with The Nikkei.

The deregulation push is already bearing fruit: The approval and licensing process for investment, for example, has been simplified and sped up. Progress has been slower in infrastructure development, however, with delays plaguing a massive power project. But there are bright spots. Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed on May 27 on a project to develop what will be one of Indonesia's largest deep-water ports, in Patimban, West Java.

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