jayanty nada shofa, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Tuesday said he wanted his successor to not "act cowardly" in face of major economies, especially when it comes to banning raw mineral ore exports and carrying on his processed product export policy despite opposition from the European Union (EU).
According to Jokowi, Indonesia will never achieve its dream of becoming a developed economy if it keeps exporting unprocessed mineral ores. This is also not the first time the president raised concern that exports of unprocessed ores had gone too long, even dating back to the Dutch East India Company era.
"And why must I repeat this? Because I want the next president to have the courage to carry on [the ore export ban]. Do not become easily discouraged, not afraid for the sake of this nation," Jokowi said at an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) conference in Jakarta.
Jokowi quoted Sukarno – the country's founding father and also the father of PDI-P matriarch Megawati Soekarnoputri – that Indonesia must not grow dependent on imperialism.
"Bung Karno said this in 1965: that we should not be dictated to and also not rely on other countries. This is what we want to do, standing on our own two feet," Jokowi said.
The World Trade Organization has backed the EU in the dispute over Indonesia's nickel export ban. Jokowi responded by ordering his government to launch an appeal.
"If our appeal fails, I don't know what else to do. But this is a trade, which sometimes pressures a country into following the rules made by major economies. If we keep on exporting only raw ores, we will remain a developing country even until doomsday," Jokowi said.
Indonesia's full ban on nickel ore exports – a critical component for stainless steel production – has been in place since January 2020. The EU launched the dispute as it feared that the ban could take a toll on the bloc's stainless steel production.
Jokowi said the nickel ore export ban had caused its export value to rise from Rp 17 trillion ($1 billion) to Rp 360 trillion.
Indonesia is also planning to stop exports of unprocessed bauxite in June 2023. Processing bauxite ores at home is expected to increase the value of bauxite export from Rp 20 trillion to up to Rp 70 trillion. After bauxite, Indonesia will also go for copper in mid-2023.
"It was the EU who filed the [WTO lawsuit], so the recent EU-ASEAN conference gave us an opportunity to say that partnership should be equal. There must not be any imposition of views. No country should dictate over others. Developed countries should not think that their standards are better than ours," Jokowi said.