Indonesia is ready to deepen its economic engagement with Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) countries post-COVID-19 pandemic, Industry Ministry Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said.
In his speech at the 2021 INA-LAC Business Forum held online on Thursday, he stated, “Indonesia is ready to explore the potential to deepen its economic engagement with LAC countries.”
He made this statement following announcement that Indonesia’s total global trade was recorded at only 2 per cent, while the total for LAC countries only reached 0.32 per cent.
“These figures do not reflect our true potentials,” he stressed.
However, Gumiwang is optimistic that Indonesia will achieve economic recovery by 2022, influenced by various factors, such as successfully handling COVID-19, a recovery in public consumption, the implementation of structural reforms and rising prospects for the global economy.
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The IMF World Economic Outlook published this year estimated developing countries may reach a strong growth of some 5.2 per cent.
“In line with this, our economic recovery in 2022 is expected to grow 5.0 to 5.5 per cent,” he explained, but acknowledged the uncertainty caused by the emergence and spread of new COVID-19 variants will remain determining factors that must be considered.
However, Indonesia’s experienced in managing the second wave of COVID-19 through a mandatory vaccination program and the enforcement of health protocols increased the public’s confidence to move forward with social economic activities, he stressed.
“I am proud that Indonesia was nominated to be one of the best countries in the world in managing the second wave of COVID-19. The recognition of John Hopkins University was a result of Indonesia’s ability to reduce confirmed cases by over 58 per cent weekly,” Gumiwang said.
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The enforcement of public activity restrictions (PPKM), especially in the islands of Java and Bali, decreased case by 94 per cent from the peak in July 2021, he added.
Businesses and industries, therefore, began to reopen and local economies started to recover.
The trade balance in August showed a surplus of US$4.7 billion, out of a total US$19.1 billion from January 2021.
Exports grew by 37.7 per cent year-on-year, supported by exports of coal, palm oil, basic iron, steel and natural gas, while imports grew by 33 per cent year-on-year driven by positive growth in imports of raw materials and capital goods.
The global economy continues to recover in line with the optimism as indicated by the rebound in economic growth in the second quarter of 2021, Gumiwang noted.
“We must recover and grow powerfully together,” he said in conclusion.
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