Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The growth of Indonesia`s exports to Japan may slightly slow down in 2008 in view of the economic recession in the United States.
The growth of Indonesian exports to the United States had been predicted to decline substantially as the result of economic recession there. Let us hope that the decline in Indonesia`s exports to Japan is not as high as to the United States, Minister of Trade Mari Elka Pangestu said after officially opening the Indonesia-Japan Expo 2008 in Jakarta on Thursday.
Last year`s growth of Indonesia`s exports to the US declined by 5 percent while the current trend reached 10 percent.
She said that the growth trend of Indonesia-Japan trade in the last four years reached 14.8 percent. In 2007, the growth increased to 19 percent, higher than the previous trend.
Indonesia`s non-oil/gas exports to Japan had been increasing by 20 percent, which is higher than the 2002-2006 trend of only 17.6 percent.
Indonesia`s exports to Japan in the January-September 2007 period reached 17.5 billion US dollars, including 7.3 billion US dollars contributed by the non-oil/gas exports.
"This year, the performance is still good, but the growth rate may decline," she said.
Nevertheless, she said she had taken some anticipative measures by stepping up promotion and product diversification, especially in the manufacturing and fishery sectors. She also hoped the implementation of the partnership Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Indonesia and Japan would increase Indonesia`s export performance this year.
Increase in Indonesia`s exports to Japan is closely related to Japan`s increased investment, she said.
Regarding the EPA, the trade minister said the ratification process in Indonesia is almost completed, while ratification in Japan would be started in March and April, apparently in view of the change of government in that country by the end of 2007. But she hoped the EPA could be implemented before the end of 2008. The EPA also covers a technical assistance to improve the standard of Indonesia`s export products as Japan has a high standard for its food and farm produce imports.
"We have started establishing cooperation under the EPA scheme to improve our product standards to meet the standards for exports to Japan. But it appears this cannot be realized this year. May be next year," she added.(*)