Speaking during the opening of a Trade Ministry meeting, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed his disappointment over export figures, which fell behind other Southeast Asian Countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
“If we keep going on like this, we will be beaten by Cambodia and Laos,” he said during the meeting.
According to Trade Ministry data, the country’s export value stood at US$168.7 billion in 2017, compared to Thailand’s $236.69 billion, Vietnam’s $213.77 billion and Malaysia’s $219.45 billion, from January to November in 2017.
Jokowi said Indonesian Trade Promotion Centers (ITPC) had failed to open new markets for Indonesian products.
“We have had ITPCs for years, what they have done? If I see no improvement, I will disband them. The country has spent a lot of money, but we can’t compete with our neighboring countries” he said.
Jokowi also criticized officials’ lack of attention to markets in India and Bangladesh after they missed December’s Asian International Trade Expo in Dhaka.
“Bangladesh has a population of 160 million, this is a big market but we missed the recent expo. We keep repeating our mistakes,” he said, adding that Indonesia needed to be more aggressive in participating in any potential trade expos that had the potential to boost trade.