The administration of President Donald Trump has slapped massive tariffs on various manufactured goods from China, forcing US businesses to seek alternatives from other parts of the world. (Antara Photo/Muhammad Adimaja)

'Not Many Second Chances': Indonesian Businesses Seek Trade War Opportunities

OCTOBER 09, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesian businesses are on the offensive to clinch trade and investment deals with companies in the United States, as the latter drifts into an all-out trade war with China. 

President Donald Trump's administration has slapped massive tariffs on various manufactured goods from China, forcing US businesses to seek alternatives from other parts of the world.

"We don't get many second chances, and it's hard to compete with the Chinese, but once there is such a situation, it creates a more level playing field for Indonesia and other Asean nations," Prasetyo Singgih, who is leading a delegation of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) to the United States, said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The United States is Indonesia's fourth-largest trade partner after China, Japan and Singapore. Total trade between the two countries amounted to $28.6 billion last year, up 10 percent from 2017, with Indonesia enjoying a $8.26 billion surplus.

The United States also invested more than $1.2 billion in 572 projects in Indonesia last year, making it the seventh-largest investor in the archipelago.

Prasetyo and several other Indonesian businesspeople are visiting numerous government and private institutions in the United States between Sept. 25 and Nov. 21 to look for business opportunities. 

The delegation attended various business forums, networking sessions, high-level roundtable meetings and conducted courtesy calls to officials and business individuals in New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Los Angles, Chicago and San Francisco.

Prasetyo expressed hope that the roadshow would strengthen bilateral relations between Indonesia and the United States and increase trade and investment cooperation.

"US-China trade relations have and will continue to cast a shadow over the global economy," he said. "Yet the US administration, in my view, is addressing what other trading partners in the past have failed to do, which is to challenge an export-oriented economy whose industry is highly subsidized and relies on devalued currencies."