Trade Minister Agus Suharmanto, center, and Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga, right, at a press conference in Jakarta on Friday. (JG Photo/Nur Yasmin)

Trade Ministry to Prioritize International Trade Agreements and Export

BY :NUR YASMIN

NOVEMBER 08, 2019

Jakarta. The Trade Ministry has announced that its policy priorities for the next five years will be geared toward concluding international trade agreements and increasing exports.

"For the next five years, the Trade Ministry will do its best to support President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's vision and mission. Currently, the national economic growth is at 5.02 percent. We want to increase it to 5.4-6 percent. To do so, we need to improve our economic resilience to be more competitive," Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in Jakarta on Friday.

"We also need to strengthen investment growth and domestic trade, and curb inflation by stabilizing prices," he said.

Agus said his ministry would focus on human development, infrastructure development, streamlining regulations and minimizing bureaucratic red tapes as the president has mandated.

The president has asked Agus, in particular, to reduce trade deficit and control imports.

"To protect our trade balance, we will be actively expanding our market access by completing all international trade negotiations, which would improve our export and investment," he said.

Several negotiations that are already on the table are the Indonesia-European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTA) with Tunisia, Morocco, Bangladesh and Turkey.

"We need to keep a realistic export target amid the global economic slowdown. We will increase non-oil and gas exports by 6.8 to 12.2 percent. We aim to increase goods and services export by 4.5 to 8.6 percent. We will also secure and strengthen the domestic market since 53 percent of our GDP comes from domestic consumption," the minister said.

The Trade Ministry has also increased its non-oil and gas exports target to $190 billion from $175 billion in 2018.

"To control imports, we will prioritize the importations of raw or auxiliary materials to be used for export and investment," Agus said.

The ministry will focus on managing major products for export, especially crude palm oil and coal, exports for industry 4.0 – food and beverages, textile and textile products, electronics, automotive and chemicals – and also for non-4.0 industry, including fisheries, general machinery, wood and wood products.

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