16
August

The European Commission on Tuesday imposed countervailing duties of 8 percent to 18 percent on imports of subsidized biodiesel from Indonesia, saying the move aimed to restore a level playing field for European Union producers.

“The new import duties are imposed on a provisional basis and the investigation will continue with a possibility to impose definitive measures by mid-December 2019,” the EU executive said in a statement.

Last week Indonesia’s trade minister said he would recommend to an inter-ministerial team a 20 percent-25 percent tariff on EU dairy products in response to the EU targeting the country’s biodiesel, adding that he had asked dairy product importers to find sources of supply outside the 28-nation bloc.

The EU duties are another blow to Indonesian biodiesel producers after the bloc said in March that palm oil should be phased out of renewable transportation fuels due to palm plantations’ contribution to deforestation.

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the EU, launched an anti-subsidy investigation in December following a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board.

It said its investigation showed that Indonesian biodiesel producers benefit from grants, tax benefits and access to raw materials below market prices.

The EU biodiesel market is worth an estimated 9 billion euros a year, with imports from Indonesia worth about 400 million euros, it said.

Indonesia Biofuels Producers Association (APROBI) Chairman M.P. Tumanggor told Reuters that companies impacted by the anti-subsidy duties will likely be forced to renegotiate their contracts with buyers in the EU and it may reduce 2019’s biodiesel exports.

“We initially targeted 1.4 million tons exports this year to Europe, that will not be reached,” Tumanggor said, adding that exports may only reach around 1 million tons.

He said the group is in consultation with the government to response to the duties decision by the EU.

Indonesian officials did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters on the countervailing duties decision.

16
August

Indonesia has recorded a trade deficit of US$63 million in July on the back of weak commodity prices that has affected its export value, according to Statistic Indonesia (BPS) data released on Thursday.

The figure is a reversal from a June trade surplus of around $300 million. The country’s balance of trade has maintained a negative trend overall from January to July with a deficit of $1.9 billion,  which is still an improvement from the minus $3.21 billion it recorded during the same period in 2018.

Exports in July declined 5.12 percent year-on-year (yoy) to $15.45 billion, while imports fell 15.21 percent yoy to $15.51 billion.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, BPS head Suhariyanto said the trade balance barely missed recording a surplus in July due to declining prices of Indonesia's primary raw materials exports.

He cited the price of crude palm oil, which had declined 0.18 percent yoy, and the price of coal, which had declined 39.72 percent yoy, whereas the export volumes of the two commodities had actually increased in July.

"The structure of our export commodities remains unchanged and still consists mainly of raw materials," said Suhariyanto. "This is a challenge for us to shift our production downstream in order to boost added value and create more jobs."

15
August

Ambassador of Canada to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Peter MacArthur, is pleased to announce Canada’s support to two Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Projects in Indonesia supporting women’s grassroots organizations with funding totalling $6.23 million: $1.8 million to Yayasan Pemberdayaan PEKKA, and $4.43 million to Hivos.  A release from Embassy of Canada received by the Voice of Indonesia in Jakarta on Wednesday said the support was in the form of funds totaling 6.23 million US dollars, which was given to the PEKKA Empowerment Foundation and Hivos. Peter MacArthur said by supporting PEKKA and HIVOS through its Women’s Voice and Leadership Program, Canada is continuing to take substantive action to strengthen grassroots women’s groups which understand the challenges that women and girls face so as to help Indonesia advance its Sustainable Development Goals agenda (SDG 2030). Canada has partnered with Indonesia in advancing gender equality and women empowerment to meet broader socio-economic goals. (Release Embassy of Canada/AHM)

15
August

New British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste Owen Jenkins on Wednesday launched the application window for Chevening Scholarships in Jakarta. Chevening is a good platform for exposing young and future Indonesian leaders to world-class education,said Owen Jenkins.

Chevening, the UK government’s global scholarship program with an overall budget of 57 million pounds, offers future leaders the chance to pursue one-year master’s degrees in any subject at any UK university, according to the British Embassy Jakarta.

Owen Jenkins, who works on diverse issues from climate change and economics to international security, and links between prosperity and sustainability, stated that the Chevening Scholarships symbolize all these issues.

“They have been an incredible bridge between countries and the UK, and I already can see Indonesia is no exception to that at all,” he added.

“Who we are looking for are Indonesia’s future
leaders, who can take the opportunity to go to the UK to do a master’s degree, to get the skills and expertise and the contacts they will need in their chosen field,” said Owen Jenkins at his office in South Jakarta.

“We are very proud to send over 60 young Indonesians to the UK every year, in a range of fields from environmental science through economics and politics to law design, among others,” Owen Jenkins told Antara. “I think that reflects the breadth of the UK-Indonesia relationship, which covers all these areas and more."

Around 1,700 Indonesians from across the country have won Chevening Scholarships over the last 35 years. Around 68 Chevening scholarships were awarded to Indonesia and 5 to Timor-Leste last year, and the British Embassy Jakarta hopes to award at least another 63 to Indonesia and 4 to Timor-Leste in 2019.

“It really is an astonishing opportunity for a career diplomat like me to be in this country at this time, I think there is absolutely extraordinary potential for British-Indonesian relations,” Owen Jenkins said at his first official event as an ambassador in Jakarta.

“Indonesia is going to be one of the giants of the 21st century; it is one of the powers which is going to determine how the century goes,” Owen Jenkins added.

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