Dian Septiari, Jakarta – Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi announced on Sunday that Indonesia has retained its status as a beneficiary of the United States' Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) following the recent visit of United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Jakarta.
Retno said the extension of the GSP facility for Indonesian exports to the US, the decision of which was made official on Friday by the US Trade Representative (USTR), was a concrete form of strategic partnership between the two countries.
Indonesia is one of 120 countries that has benefited from the GSP, the oldest and largest US trade preference program. It eliminates duties on thousands of products to promote economic development among beneficiary countries and territories.
The facilities have been given to developing countries in the world since 1974. Indonesia first received GSP benefits from the US in 1980.
"This decision [to extend the GSP facility for Indonesia] was made after the USTR reviewed it for approximately 2.5 years since March 2018," Retno said.
In 2018, US President Donald Trump said his administration would review the GSP benefits provided to several developing countries, including Indonesia, with which the US has a trade deficit. Jakarta has since tried to lobby the US in the hopes of retaining its trade privileges. India and Thailand both saw a loss of trade privileges with the US in October last year.
"During the visit of Secretary of State [Mike Pompeo] to Indonesia three days ago, we also discussed this issue in a bilateral meeting with me and a courtesy visit to the President [Joko "Jokowi" Widodo]," Retno said.
She said the extension would bring positive benefits not only to Indonesia but also to US businesses.
"We hope that strong trade relations between Indonesia and the US will be a catalyst for increased investment between the two countries," she added.
She touted the US as Indonesia's second-largest non-oil and gas export destination country after China, with total two-way trade value reaching US$27 billion in 2019.
"Going forward, the two countries agreed to seek a more comprehensive and permanent discussion of the Indonesia-US trade partnership."