The Jakarta Post
Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan has asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to consider reducing import tariffs on Indonesian steel.
Luhut met Xi on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
“During the brief meeting, I voiced my concern regarding the current state of Indonesian exports. I asked [Xi Jinping] to be lenient or even to roll back the steel import tariffs. President Xi Jinping said he would consider it,” Luhut said in a statement on Tuesday.
China imposed anti-dumping duties on stainless steel imports from the European Union, Japan, South Korea and Indonesia in July. The duties range from 18.1 to 103.1 percent on all stainless steel billets and hot-rolled stainless steel plates.
Luhut went on to say he hoped for import reductions sooner rather than later as he considered China, with its population of 1.4 billion people, to be a vital market for Indonesia.
He would also meet with United States Trade Minister Wilbur Ross in Jakarta on Wednesday to discuss possible steel import tariff reductions from the current 25 percent.
“So far, only Japan, South Korea and Turkey are exempt from the US tariffs. As a developing country, this is a burden for us,” Luhut added.
Scores of major global investors and industry stakeholders are congregating at the CIIE, which will run until Nov. 10, to strike deals and re-think strategies amid the ongoing US-China trade war.
In his opening speech, Xi said the CIIE represented the Chinese government’s support for free trade and a more globalized market.
In addition to Xi, Luhut also met with several other Chinese state officials at the event to discuss the possibility of China joining a sovereign wealth fund alongside Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates as an alternative source for infrastructure development and investment.
“We aim to increase exports [to China] in various sectors. We’re now mainly focused on downstream industry products such as products from nickel ore, copper, lead and bauxite,” Luhut said. “We’ve also seen considerable export potential for tropical fruits such as pineapples and coconuts.”
He added that US-based electric vehicle producer Tesla had recently expressed its interest in purchasing nickel sulfate from Indonesia for the production of electric car batteries.
“We will continue to persuade Tesla to open a factory in Indonesia too,” he said.