US Ambassador to Indonesia Robert Blake said on Tuesday that Indonesia could maintain its economic strength without closing its borders to foreign imports, as had been practiced by the President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo administration.
“Trade can help Indonesia achieve its economic goals. It can help increase Indonesia’s economic growth and reduce poverty, which is the President’s goal. […] Indonesia can play to its strength and prosper without closing its borders,” he said in a speech at Al Azhar University, South Jakarta, on Tuesday.
He further said that open trade would create opportunities for businesses for innovation and expansion, while providing lower prices and a wider choice of goods and services for consumers.
“For an economy like Indonesia where consumer spending is important for economic growth, it is necessary to ensure that consumers have access to a wide range of products and services at the lowest prices as a good way to ensure that growth continues,” he said
The US previously turned to the World Trade Organization to settle a complaint, along with New Zealand, on Indonesia’s wide ranging import restrictions on farm products like fruit, vegetables, beef and poultry.
A survey in 2013 by the International Trade Center (ITC) involing 1,000 Indonesian businesses found that 37 percent of businesses in Indonesia were affected by non-barriers to trade.
Blake went on to say that the decision on trade would be a vital strategic choice for Indonesia.
“Indonesia is faced with a strategic choice. It can turn inward and pursue policies designed to protect its companies and industries, while accepting its inefficiencies, higher prices and less choice for consumers, as well as lack of innovation,” he said.
Source : The Jakarta Post | May 26, 2015