deputy minister of trade, Jerry Sambuaga and vice minster for foreign affairs minister, Mahendra Siregar meet various United States (US) officials to escalate the value of trade and exprort from Indonesia - Photo by Trade Ministry Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Last week, deputy minister of trade, Jerry Sambuaga and vice minster for foreign affairs minister, Mahendra Siregar meet various United States (US) officials to escalate the value of trade and export from Indonesia. Based on the official statement, the major issues has been talked was the completion of the Generalized System of Preference.

In the meeting with US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross at the State Palace on Nov. 6, President Joko Widodo wants the value of trade between the two countries grow double, from US$30 billion to $60 billion in the next five years.

Regarding the GSP, the head of states wants before the end of December there had been an agreement between the two countries. According to Sambuaga, the positive response was shown at the meeting with deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR) Jeffrey Gerrish in Washington DC.

Ross said that current discussions on the GSP for Indonesia were still being discussed at the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). He said the ongoing negotiations to be very constructive.

“Communication between USTR and the government of Indonesia is very good. We hope to finish the discussion and be able to announce the results as soon as possible,” he said.

Sambuaga revealed, the GSP Country Practice Review was conducted by the US government since April 2018. Last year, Indonesia’ exports to the US using GSP facilities reached US$2 billion and certainly increased in 2019 due to the revocation of the eligibility status for India, Turkey and Thailand (partial).

Some of the main export products of GSP Indonesia include bag products (travel goods), gold jewelry, truck and bus tires, cables and musical instruments. While, the socialization of the utilization of GSP facilities in the country will also continue to be intensified.

In the meeting with department of commerce official, Diane Farrell, the vice minister said Indonesian government continues to improve market access for Indonesian products to US. One of them is by trying to impose a minimum tariff the minimum for Indonesia’ potential products in the US market such as steel products, textiles, and furniture.

“At the bilateral meeting, we focused on efforts to increase market access for encourage Indonesian exports to the US. We try to increase steel exports with requesting an exemption from charging 25 percent for steel products. Besides that, we also wants Indonesian textile and furniture products to fill the US market,” he asserted.

Indonesia also expressed a desire to fill the gap US imports of the two products which so far have come from China, he adds.

Currently, the official noted, the apparel products are still a commodity that dominates Indonesia’ exports to the US, which in January – August 2019 was recorded at more than $3 billion. As for furniture, the value exports recorded rose 24.4 percent compared to last year, from $560.2 million to $696.7 million.

Sambuaga also revealed that increasing market access with the exception of tariff increases is important to contribute to achieving the total trade target between Indonesia and the US in the amount of $60 billion.

In addition, Indonesia encourages the Washington to open its market for Indonesian fruit products, especially pineapple at the discussion with US department of agriculture’ representative, Ted McKinney, on Nov. 20. He said, in 2018, exports of fresh and dry cashews from Indonesia to the US reached $23.2 million.

Dry grated coconut and its derivatives too in demand. In 2018, total exports of dessicated coconut products will reach $437 thousand. Meanwhile, some fruit products in 2018 that are exported to the US are guava, mangoes, mangosteen, lemon, banana, and apple with a total value of around $19 thousand.

“We hope that the US Government will later expand market access for products Indonesia, as well as giving a positive response to the efforts of the Government of Indonesia in the settlement bilateral trade issues between the two countries,” concluded the deputy minister.

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