The United States has eyed a wider market to export its agriculture products to Southeast Asia, with Indonesia as the hub, as it is the largest economy in the region, by sending an agriculture trade mission to Jakarta from July 16 to 19. The team were looking at all market for two-way trade.
“We are coming here because the relationship with Indonesia has been very positive,” US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney, noted during a press briefing here on Wednesday.
McKinney leads 24 American agriculture companies and organizations, as well as representatives from Georgia and Idaho States Department of Agriculture, to meet more than 200 Indonesian business counterparts in Jakarta.
“The participants are very diverse, and they met in what I called a speed dating, where they discussed trade among themselves, business-to-business meeting, G-to-G, as well as B-to-G meeting, where we always included officials from your ministry of agriculture, ministry of trade, and BPOM (Indonesia’s Food and Medicines Inspection Agency),” he remarked.
The USDA also invited businesses from Philippines and Malaysia to join the meeting in Jakarta, as the two countries also have favorable conditions as Indonesia for US export expansion, such as rapidly growing economies, increasing middle-class population, and continuing urbanization.
“I cannot tell you the exact results of the meeting, but I can tell you that it was very positive to anticipate current and future positive trade both ways,” McKinney noted.
The agenda of the US agriculture trade mission in Jakarta included visit to cotton mills, tempe (made of soybeans) production facilities, and some supermarkets. “We went to one hundred tempe production facilities, where the US soybeans are made to tempe. We came to know that they have found consistency by using US soybeans and are very happy to purchase our soybeans,” McKinney revealed.
Indonesia and the US have been enjoying free and fair trade relations, with nearly US$3 billion surplus for Indonesia in 2017. Indonesia is the largest trade partner of the US in Southeast Asia, where US’ export value in 2017 reached $2.9 billion, with soybeans as the largest commodity.