Chief Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, 3rd from left, is received by US President Donald Trump, 3rd right, at the White House, Washington DC, on Nov. 17, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment)
Chief Investment Minister Meets Trump to Say Thank You
BY :NOVY LUMANAUW
NOVEMBER 18, 2020
Jakarta. Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has met with US President Donald Trump to express appreciation and gratitude for the American government's decision to keep Indonesia in the US trade preference program.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Luhut was accompanied by Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Muhammad Lutfi, while White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were seen alongside the president. Also present at the meeting was International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) CEO Adam Boehler.
According to a statement from Luhut’s office, his visit seeks to strengthen bilateral cooperation on trade and investment after the US Trade Representative decided to retain Indonesia as the beneficiary country in the generalized system of preferences (GSP), which eliminates duties on thousands of products imported from developing countries.
“On behalf of President Joko Widodo, I would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to President Donald Trump. Whatever result of the current election will bring, we will continue to be friends. I also hope that such a good communication will continue with the White House after January 2021,” Luhut said in the statement, referring to the inauguration date of the US president elect on January 20.
The US is one of Indonesia’s biggest trading partners, with bilateral trade valuing at $27.1 billion last year in Indonesia’s favor. Indonesia enjoyed a $8.5 billion surplus in the bilateral trade last year. During the last five years, the bilateral trade has also gone to Indonesia’s favor.
Of the $17.8 billion export value to the US, $2.61 billion enjoyed the GSP programs.
During his US visit, Luhut also held a separate meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, who offered joint production of a vaccine against coronavirus between pharmaceutical companies from the two countries, the statement says.