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Jakarta Post

75 years of Indonesian trade: The struggle to diversify exports, cut imports

  • Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Tue, August 25, 2020   /  10:23 am
The Jakarta Post Image
Multipurpose vehicles are parked at Tanjung Priok Port’s car terminal prior to being exported on April 8. Indonesia has been heavily relying on commodities to generate trade surpluses for the past 75 years, but volatile prices have pushed the country to diversify exports while the current pandemic and trade war are haunting the future of international trade.(Antara/Aditya Pradana Putra)

“Documenting 75 years of resilience” is a series of special reports by The Jakarta Post to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, 1945. Indonesia has been relying heavily on commodities to generate trade surpluses for the past 75 years, but volatile prices have pushed the country to diversify exports, while the global pandemic and a trade war haunt future international trade. The country’s trade surplus peaked at US$39.7 billion in 2007, thanks to exports of, among other things, coal, crude palm oil, rubber, timber, bauxite and nickel. “Significant increases [in trade surpluses] took place between 2004 and 2011. That was during the commodity boom,” Faisal Basri, an economist at the University of Indonesia, told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview on Aug. 13. Read also: Indonesia logs biggest trade surplus in nine years, higher...