IDNAround – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo on Wednesday asked visiting US Congress members for the continuation of the trade preference program Generalized System of Preferences, commonly shortened as the GSP.
The GSP eliminates duties on thousands of products imported from Indonesia and over 100 other developing nations into the US. In November 2020, the US extended Indonesia’s GSP status. Indonesia first became a GSP beneficiary country in 1980.
However, the legal authorization of the GSP program expired at the end of 2020. This means that goods from GSP beneficiary countries that were enjoying the duty-free treatment have been subject to US tariffs. According to the US Customs Border and Protection, the GSP program is still waiting for congressional renewal.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said President Jokowi brought up the subject of the GSP, among other things, when meeting with US congress members at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“During the talks with the US Congress, Mr. President [Jokowi] expressed his hope for the congress’ support for the extension of the GSP facility,” Retno said in a recorded press statement.
The US Congress members that Jokowi met were senators Jeff Merkley and Chris Van Hollen, as well as representatives Lloyd Doggett, Pramila Jayapal, and Ilhan Omar.
“The delegates affirmed the US’ commitment to deepen and strengthen the strategic partnership. They believe Indonesia is a vital partner in the region. They even said ‘Indonesia is shining now’,” Retno said.
The GSP has been reauthorized 14 times since its initial ten-year legislative authorization expired in 1985. Each authorization generally lasted 2 to 3 years.
Government data shows Indonesia-US trade totaled $39.8 billion in 2022, an increase from $37 billion in 2021.
In 2019, Indonesian exports under the GSP reached $2.61 billion, accounting for 13.1 percent of what the Southeast Asian country exported to the US that year. Indonesia’s GSP exports in 2019 came from 729 tariff posts out of the 3,572 tariff posts eligible for the trade preference program, according to the US International Trade Commission.
The US delegates are scheduled to visit Indonesia’s new state capital project Nusantara on Thursday, according to Retno.