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Foreign meddling threatens Indonesia's industrialization agenda, investment minister warns

Jakarta Globe - March 19, 2024

Alfida Rizky Febrianna, Jakarta – Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia has revealed that certain countries are making attempts to thwart Indonesia's industrialization efforts.

He has expressed concerns that these nations are attempting to undermine Indonesia's policy of ceasing the export of raw commodities, a move that could potentially target future Indonesian governments.

"I want to emphasize that various tactics or strategies might be employed to overturn the policy of ceasing the export of raw materials. This includes undermining our nationalistic principles. I strongly sense this," Bahlil remarked during a press conference on Monday.

Bahlil pointed out that the motivation behind a country's desire to impede Indonesia's industrialization stems from the disruption it causes to their own industries, which rely on raw materials such as nickel sourced from Indonesia.

"Therefore, let's not allow ourselves, as fellow citizens, to be manipulated by foreign entities. This concern is particularly pertinent during the presidential election," Bahlil urged.

"I am apprehensive that as we transition from President Joko Widodo's administration to a potential President Prabowo's, these challenges will persist, accompanied by certain intrigues," he added.

Since January 2020, the policy banning the export of raw nickel has been implemented. However, the enforcement of this policy has not been without challenges. With nickel production reaching 1 million metric tons, Indonesia has become the world's largest nickel producer.

The ban on raw nickel exports has the potential to disrupt global nickel supply, triggering trade conflicts. Currently, the European Union, through the World Trade Organization (WTO), is challenging Indonesia's policy of banning raw nickel exports. However, Indonesia's primary goal in halting the export of raw mining materials is to increase domestic value-added through the industrialization of mining products.

Bahlil underscored that efforts by other countries to halt Indonesia's industrialization program pose a serious threat. He noted that such countries often resort to disturbing state officials who support the program.

"In the future, the elected President, Prabowo, has advocated for comprehensive industrialization. I am confident that this will continue and remain steadfast. Prabowo is committed to industrialization and cannot be influenced," he affirmed.

Furthermore, Bahlil stressed the importance of the incoming government fostering a robust industrialization ecosystem, including the development of electric vehicle component ecosystems.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/foreign-meddling-threatens-indonesias-industrialization-agenda-investment-minister-warn