Jakarta — Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has met with United States Trade Representative (USTR) to discuss expansion of trade between the two countries. Enggartiasto, on a working visit to the United States, met with Robert E. Lighthizer in Washington D.C., seeking to remove barriers hampering expansion of the bilateral trader. The USTR welcomed the initiative of the Indonesian government to expand cooperation between the two democracies, Enggartiasto said in a statement received here on Sunday (29/07). “Cooperation between Indonesia and the United States is expected to increase trade value, which we think is very small in comparison with the existing potential,” Enggartiasto said in a statement. The minister said Indonesia would increase exports of Indonesian commodities needed in the United States and on the hand import industrial basic materials and capital goods from the United States not yet produced in Indonesia. “Amid global economic uncertainties Indonesia has to be proactive in utilizing any opportunity,” he said. Enggartiasto told Lighthizer Indonesia’s concern about issues of trade barrier attempts to expand bilateral trade between the two countries, the statement said. Among the issues are the plan to review the Generalized System Preferences (GSP) for Indonesia that might mean the slapping of import duty on Indonesian steel and aluminum products. “Maintaining the GSP scheme would benefit not only Indonesia, but it also would be in the interest of the U.S. industry,” he said. The U.S. industrial consumers would suffer from high production cost if using basic materials with higher price of import from Indonesia, he said, adding,” therefore, this is a mutually beneficial cooperation.” Indonesia still needs GSP to improve its competitiveness in the U.S. market, he went on to say. Among Indonesian commodities exported to the United States with the GSP facility include rubber, car tires, metal ornaments, aluminum, hand gloves, musical instruments, loudspeakers and batteries. In 2007, Indonesia exported US$1.9 billion worth of goods with GSP facility to the United States, much smaller than exports by other countries with the same facility such as US$5.6 billion by India, US$4.2 billion by Thailand, and US$2.5 billion by Brazil. Data at the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) showed that bilateral trade between Indonesia and the United States in 2017 was valued at US$25.91 billion favoring Indonesia with a surplus of US$9.67 billion from its exports of US$17.79 billion against imports of only US$8.12 billion.