The head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, has said Indonesia is still lagging behind three other ASEAN members — Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia — when it comes to exports.
He added that the three countries’ exports were more stable because they have managed to develop their industries, while Indonesia was still relying heavily on its natural resources.
“Exports should be supported by industrialization,” Bambang said in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by tempo.co.
He explained that Indonesia’s exports of basic commodities depended on both global demand and commodity prices, while exports from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia were more stable because they have been able to develop their manufacturing industries.
Bambang said manufacturing products have a more stable market and prices.
He stressed that the effort to strengthen exports was not only about increasing the volume of commodities, it should also be about manufacturing commodities into more valuable products.
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Monday that Indonesia booked a US$1.09 billion trade surplus in March after posting a trade deficit for three consecutive months from December 2017 to February.
The BPS recorded a trade deficit of $8.57 billion last year. The decline in global prices for palm oil and coal also contributed to the weakening of Indonesia’s exports.