Oliver Bugarin 1 0 0 4 min to read

To increase bargaining leverage, Asean solidarity is essential, says the minister.

Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment and Head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), emphasized the importance of strong cooperation among the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations to establish a powerful negotiating stance on a global scale.

Lahadalia commented on Wednesday while attending Cambodia’s 25th ASEAN Investment Agreement Council (AIA Council) meeting.

He remarked, alluding to the growth of Indonesia’s downstream industry, that not all nations support the development of the ASEAN region.

“Presently, Indonesia is in this predicament. While we are concentrating on growing the downstream nickel sector to make vehicle batteries, certain nations have filed a complaint against us with the WTO (World Trade Organization). Although this is only a minor example, we do not rule out the possibility that other nations could also be dealing with a situation like this “The minister made this observation in a written statement issued on Thursday in Jakarta.

In response to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s ASEAN Investment Report 2022, Lahadalia urged ASEAN nations to establish shared priorities and reinforce one another by utilizing their respective comparative advantages.

“Although I think we are strong, we haven’t given our other Asean members the support they need by concentrating on one another. I also applaud the UNCTAD for emphasizing the importance of reforming various rules and services, “added he.

The European Union (EU) filed a complaint with the WTO in November 2019, challenging Indonesia’s export limitations on nickel, iron ore, and chromium, which are used as raw materials to make European stainless steel.

The EU charged Indonesia with breaking the WTO members’ pledge to provide as much access as feasible to global trade, especially for a raw nickel.

Lahadalia claimed that Indonesia’s trade balance has improved due to the growth of its downstream industry based on natural resources. In its trade with China, Indonesia experienced a deficit of USD 18 billion in 2017, which decreased to USD 2.5 billion in 2021.

But in the first half of 2022, Indonesia’s trade with China showed a $1 billion surplus. Over time, Indonesia’s trade surplus increased to USD 15.55 billion.

“This is the tangible result of the downstream industry based on natural resources that the government currently supports. We must continue this course as much as we can, “said Lahadalia.

Indonesia is awaiting a WTO ruling on resolving its trade spat with the EU.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Minister’s Regulation No. 11 of 2019 established the government’s export prohibition on nickel ore, which became effective on January 1, 2020.

Other ASEAN nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

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