Remarks of President Joko Widodo at the Inauguration of the 33rd Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) 2018, on 24 October 2018, in Nusantara Hall, Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE), BSD, Tangerang, Banten
Unofficial English Translation
Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
May prosperity be upon us all,
Greetings of virtue.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are facing issues that we have not been able to resolve for years, namely trade balance issues: the trade balance deficit and the current account deficit.
In 2017, our current account deficit was recorded at USD 17.3 billion, which was a large number. We must continue to improve our trade balance. How? Exports must exceed imports.
Currently, our imports still exceed exports. Consequently, the deficit still continues. Therefore, I really appreciate all your hard works in the effort to enter export markets of some countries, especially non-traditional countries.
And thank God, in last September we have found the light at the end of the tunnel. Our trade balance started to produce a USD220 million surplus. It is still small, but it has generated surplus. And we hope that the surplus will continue in October and November, and will eventually become monthly and annual traditions.
Secondly, I would like to say that in January until September 2018, our total exports were valued at USD122 billion, growing up to 9.2%. This is very good compared to that of 2017. We should be aware of these numbers. Growing up to 9.2% means that our exports are getting better. Therefore, the government will continue to encourage exports. Yet, I still have not figured out what kind of incentives we can provide so factories, businesses, and industries are encouraged to enter the export market.
Thirdly, I would like to remind you that currently there is a competition, a trade war. Use this opportunity to enter the market. Although there may be difficulties, we shall find opportunities in it. Use those opportunities to get into the markets left behind by those who are fighting in the war. This is an opportunity that we should use properly.
Fourthly, we should keep expanding non-traditional markets, such as South Asia, Africa, and many more that we have never developed before. I want all our ambassadors, Indonesian Trade Promotion Centers, and consuls general, to work hard for our non-traditional markets. The markets of South Asia, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Pakistan, and even ASEAN, are great opportunities that we have not developed for years. I hope we start to take this into account and manage it properly, so that our exports really increase and generate trade balance surplus.
Lastly, it is about product grading. I suggest we keep on updating our designs to be in line with market trends. Second, we continue to update the packaging to make our products more interesting. Third, grading, this is also related to promotions. It is very important, be it direct promotions at world exhibitions or online promotions. Remember that we have entered the Industrial Revolution 4.0. Everything has changed, we also have to change. We know artificial intelligence, internet of things, virtual reality, advanced robotics, cryptocurrency, everything has changed so fast. If we do not want to be left behind, we have to be more adaptive to the changes.
I conclude my remarks in this good opportunity. And by saying bismillahirrahmanirrahim, I declare the 33th Indonesia Trade Expo 2018 open.
Wassamualaikum waramatullahi wabarakatuh.(Public Relation Division of Cabinet Secretariat)(FV/AW/YM/Naster)