Examining prospects under President Joko Widodo’s visits to East Asia

President Joko Widodo

Strategic targets for strengthening economic cooperation 

In 2023, Indonesia will become the next ASEAN chair after Indonesia hosts the 2022 G20 Summit. In both agendas, Indonesia continues to strive for economic stability, especially as a result of the severe impact of COVID-19 pandemic. In accordance with the priority issues brought up by Indonesia at these two forums, East Asian countries are strategic partners who can help Indonesia’s economic growth even for ASEAN. 

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said China was Indonesia’s largest trading partner with a total trade value of 110 billion US dollars and the third largest investor with a total investment value of US$3.2 billion in 2021. Likewise, with Japan, it has become an important economic partner for Indonesia with a trade value of 32 billion US dollars and an investment value of 2.26 billion US dollars in 2021. Meanwhile, South Korea is also an important economic partner, with a trade value of 18.41 billion US dollars and an investment value that continues to grow to reach 1.64 billion US dollars. 

As for ASEAN, in the economic and monetary sector, ASEAN Plus Three has built cooperation covering macroeconomic risk management, monitoring regional capital flows, strengthening the financial and banking system, reforming the international financial architecture, achieving the vision of ASEAN connectivity 2025 in synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Maritime Fulcrum Indonesia. 

With the working visit to these three countries, it’s expected that it will be able to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation between Indonesia and the three partner countries especially facing the post-pandemic crises. Under the ASEAN Chair in 2023, Indonesia must again be able to answer the challenges and needs of the ASEAN people and the world’s strong efforts to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic impact. 

Those synergies make the economic issue one of Indonesia’s interests that can be realized simultaneously by taking advantage of its involvement in ASEAN, East Asia Vision Group (EAVG), APEC, and the G20. Active involvement in these forums is to support the government’s efforts to achieve economic growth. Hence, efforts to recover the economy will still be the main issue in Indonesia and ASEAN. Alongside economic problems, priority post-pandemic issues such as health problems, connectivity, and digital transformation, certainly are included in the agenda.