President Joko Widodo wants the value of trade between Indonesia and the United States (US) to double from US$30 billion to $60 billion in the next five years - Photo by TheInsiderStories

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – President Joko Widodo wants the value of trade between Indonesia and the United States (US) to double from US$30 billion to $60 billion in the next five years. This was conveyed after meeting US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross at the State Palace today (11/06).

Before meeting the president, Wilbur had a dialogue with the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Luhut Binsar Panjaitan and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Airlangga Hartarto. The meeting was attended by Hartarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto and Minister of State Secretary Pratikno.

“The bottom line of the visit is a reflection of the US’s commitment to improving bilateral relations with Indonesia, especially in the economic field, more specifically for trade and investment,” Marsudi explained.

She added, the meeting also discussed the commitment of the two countries to implement the Indo-Pacific Outlook, especially cooperation in infrastructure and human resource development.

“The president hopes that America will become one of the partners Indonesia is in developing cooperation in both the infrastructure and human resource development sectors, “said the minister.

Regarding the Generalized System Preferences (GSP), Marsudi said, before the end of December there had been an agreement between the two countries. So far, she said, there had been an initial agreement and it would send a team to be finalized immediately.

“From what was delivered by Secretary Ross, we are optimistic that issues related to the GSP facilitation issue will be resolved properly, with the win-win solution,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Hartarto asserted the GSP agreement was part of the celebrating 70 years of Indonesia-US cooperation. Besides GSP, Indonesia also encouraged open access for furniture and textile products. Indonesia had substantial cotton and wheat import program with the US, he said.

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.

He added, Indonesia is a promising trade and investment partner for the US. He considered that the US’s entrepreneurs got very good support when doing business in Indonesia.

For this reason, he hopes to strengthen cooperation in the trade and investment sector between the two countries in the future. He also asked Indonesian entrepreneurs to participate in investing in the US.

Based on the Indonesian Trade Ministry data, Indonesian exports using the GSP facility were recorded at US$2.13 billion of Indonesia’s total exports to the US amounting to $18.4 billion in 2018.

In the January-December 2018 period, Indonesia could save as much as $101.8 million through the use of GSP. This amount of savings increased by $23 million or 29 percent compared to 2017 which was recorded at $78.8 million.

Indonesia’s main export products exported to the US using the GSP scheme in 2018 are car tires ($138 million), gold necklaces ($126.6 million), fatty acids ($102.3 million), leather handbags ($4.8 million), and jewelry accessories ($69 million).

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com