Gov’t: Amid Pandemic, Indonesia’s Trade Balance Shows Good Performance
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia’s trade balance continued to show good performance.
Indonesia’s trade surplus displayed an increasing trend from Mei to September. In fact, exports of certain commodities have not only survived but skyrocketed.
“Cumulatively, the trade balance for January-September 2020 reached US$13.5 billion. This value exceeds Indonesia’s trade balance as a whole in 2017 and is the highest achievement since 2012. Several commodities also grew positively during this pandemic, including other finished textile goods, iron and steel, and precious metals/jewelry,” Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto said in a press release update of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery, Monday (9/11).
The Minister stated that another growing export commodity is personal protective equipment (PPE). The export value of PPE, including masks, during this pandemic, has reached US$192.5 million.
“We are sure that this value will continue to increase. Not only until the end of 2020 but for the next few years. This is due to the high number of positive cases of COVID-19 in a number of countries. Apart from that, the implementation of strict health protocols around the world creates a big opportunity for Indonesian PPE products,” the Minister explained.
For September 2020, some of the main commodities of Indonesia’s non-oil and gas exports experiencing an increase were iron and steel, animal/vegetable fats and oils, vehicles and parts thereof, electrical machinery and equipment, plastics and plastic goods, as well as several agricultural and industrial sectors.
According to the Minister, the increase in the export value of iron and steel was due to increased demand from China and Malaysia. Meanwhile, the increase in exports of animal/vegetable fats and oil products was due to higher palm oil prices on the international market and increased demand from China and India.
During the pandemic, China, the United States, and Japan were still the main destination countries for Indonesia’s non-oil and gas exports. For the January-September 2020 period, the value of non-oil and gas exports to several countries actually increased, namely to China (increased by 11%), the United States (2.9%), Switzerland (228.1%), Australia (13.4%), Pakistan (13%), and Italy (1.2%).
To encourage exports, the Ministry also carried out various promotional activities during the pandemic. “Some of the promotional efforts carried out include facilitation of virtual business matching through 46 trade representatives in 31 countries, organizing the Trade Expo Indonesia Virtual Exhibition (TEI-VE) on 10-16 November 2020, and participating in Expo 2020 Dubai on 1 October 2021— 1 March 2022,” the Minister stated.
In addition, the micro, small, and medium enterprises (UMKM) sector is also a major concern of the Ministry. In order for MSMEs to survive, the Ministry has taken various strategic steps. Among others, by encouraging the local economic acceleration program for the MSME sector through the Proud of Indonesian Products (BBI) program with related ministries/institutions. BBI’s target for 2 million MSMEs to make use of digital platform was achieved last September.
Through the BBI program, the Ministry has opened market access through online trade with the issuance of Minister of Trade Regulation Number 50 of 2020 on Provisions for Business Licensing, Advertising, Development, and Supervision of Business Players in Trading Through Electronic Systems (PMSE).
For the record, the Ministry also promotes unique Indonesian knick-knacks products through the website (https://bbi.kemendag.go.id/). The site lists procedures for MSMEs to enter the digital platform as well as organizes in-store promotion activities by inviting more than 100 MSMEs assisted by the Ministry to expand their market to malls.
“Hopefully, the various efforts and programs of the Ministry, in addition to helping business actors to survive, will also be able to accelerate the national economic recovery,” he concluded.(Ministry of Trade Public Relations/UN)
Translated by: Fairuzzamani Inayatillah
Reviewed by: Lulu Wuliarti