Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla has voiced an objection to United States President Donald Trump's order to put the country's trade with Indonesia under scrutiny.
Trump ordered his administration on March 31 to study the causes of deficit in US trade with Indonesia and other 15 countries and restrict trade activities with them should they be proven to abuse the trade rules.
"US cannot say that Indonesia is cheating. How come? We never forced them to buy our goods. They buy them because Indonesia makes good and cheap stuff," said Kalla on Tuesday (04/04).
The US posted $13.2 billion deficit in its trade with Indonesia last year, up from $10.3 billion a decade earlier, US Census Bureau data showed.
The amount is still small compared with $347 billion US posted in trade deficit with China in the same period.
Other countries that will be under scrutiny include France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Kalla said that Indonesia-US trade is based on the rules of free and fair trade and the US might not be able to sell more to Indonesia because the prices it offers are higher than on other markets.
"The US should introspect to find out why its goods are so expensive. It was the US that had been pushing for free trade all this time. Now they deplore it," Kalla said.
The vice president expressed his hope that despite the setback, business between the two countries will remain as usual.
US is Indonesia's second largest export market, after China, with $2.8 billion worth of non-oil and gas merchandise shipped a month, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency.
Indonesia's exports to US are mainly oil, garments, footwear and a number of machines. In return, it imports soybeans, civilian aircraft, engines and raw cotton.