Jakarta. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Tuesday reiterated Indonesia's plan to ban exports of raw mineral ores, including bauxites and tins, as the government seeks to only send out processed minerals overseas for added value.
In an address to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), of which many members come from the mining industry, Jokowi told the business group to not be surprised once the country prohibits exports of other ores aside from the already banned nickel.
"Don't be surprised if I stop exporting bauxite, copper, tins, or what we usually export in raw form," Jokowi told the chamber during the gathering in Jakarta.
Indonesia has already imposed a ban on unprocessed nickel ore exports since 2020. The ban angered the European Union (EU) which has filed a lawsuit against the resource-rich country at the World Trade Organization (WTO). According to Jokowi, several Kadin members also came to him back then, saying they were not ready with the nickel ore export ban.
"Ready or not, we stopped [the export]," Jokowi said.
About seven years ago, Indonesia exported $1.1 billion worth of nickel. Following the ban, the country's nickel exports rose to $20.8 billion in 2021, Jokowi said, adding: "We can even get between $35 billion to $40 billion from nickel because its derivative products are still not done yet."
Exporting processed nickel -- a crucial component in steelmaking -- also did improve the Indonesia-China trade balance, which recorded a $7.7 billion deficit in 2012. Thanks to steel exports, Indonesia's trade deficit with China reached $2.4 billion in 2021.
"And I can assure you that we will post a trade surplus with China this year," Jokowi told the forum.
Jokowi said Kadin members should team up with foreign investors if they felt unready with the ore export bans. He claimed that many foreign businesses -- be it from Korea, Japan, China, or even Europe -- had shown interest in investing in Indonesia.
"They are all scared that we will stop exporting raw materials. They have no choice, but to come here and build the industry [in Indonesia]," Jokowi said.
"So join them [the investors] because we need technology. We also need investment for capital inflow," he said.