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'We're not protectionist', we're 'logical': Prabowo

Jakarta Post - May 16, 2024

Jakarta – President-elect Prabowo Subianto has defended outgoing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's export restrictions on key raw materials to promote the development of downstream industry, saying that the country is simply protecting its own interests.

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum, Prabowo said criticism of Indonesia's downstreaming policies for coal, palm oil and nickel was misplaced and insisted that all nations maintained at least some trade restrictions.

"We're not protectionist. What we're doing is very logical. Every country in the world will fight or protect the national interests of its people," Prabowo said at the discussion.

Prabowo was responding to a question from the moderator, Haslinda Amin of Bloomberg, who said Indonesia had adopted "a protectionist policy" under Jokowi.

The 72-year-old former military general said the downstreaming policy was required for Indonesia to industrialize at a faster pace.

"We will not be an advanced industrial society if we are just a producer of raw materials," Prabowo said.

In the lead-up to the Feb. 14 presidential election, Prabowo pledged to continue efforts to develop downstream industries and construct a new capital city, two of President Jokowi's signature policies.

Jokowi said the downstreaming policy was the foundation of Indonesia's efforts to become one of the world's biggest economies by 2045, with a target per capita income US$25,000.

Indonesia's gross national income per capita was $4,580 in 2022, according to World Bank data.

The president touted the success of his ban on the export of nickel ore, which he said had helped the nickel smelting industry grow significantly and had improved the welfare of Indonesians.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/business/2024/05/16/were-not-protectionist-were-logical-prabowo.htm