The Republic Indonesia shipped US$180.2 billion worth of products around the globe in 2018. That dollar figure represents roughly 1% of overall global exports estimated at $17.546 trillion one year earlier.
Applying a continental lens, almost three-quarters (72%) of Indonesian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries. Another 11.3% were sold to North American importers closely trailed by European customers at 10.6%.
Smaller percentages were delivered to Africa (2.6%), Australia and other Oceania importers (2%) then Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Indonesia’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Indonesia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Indonesian shipments by dollar value during 2018. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Indonesian exports.
- China: US$27.1 billion (15.1% of total Indonesian exports)
- Japan: $19.5 billion (10.8%)
- United States: $18.5 billion (10.2%)
- India: $13.7 billion (7.6%)
- Singapore: $13 billion (7.2%)
- South Korea: $9.5 billion (5.3%)
- Malaysia: $9.4 billion (5.2%)
- Philippines: $6.8 billion (3.8%)
- Thailand: $6.8 billion (3.8%)
- Taiwan: $4.7 billion (2.6%)
- Vietnam: $4.6 billion (2.5%)
- Netherlands: $3.9 billion (2.2%)
- Australia: $2.8 billion (1.6%)
- Germany: $2.7 billion (1.5%)
- Hong Kong: $2.6 billion (1.4%)
Roughly four-fifths (80.8%) of Indonesian exports in 2018 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
The Netherlands (down -3.5%) and India (down -2.5%) were the only two top importers that decreased their purchases from Indonesia from 2017 to 2018. Among the other 13 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 1.5% for Germany up to 27.8% for Vietnam.
Netherlands was the only top importer that decreased its purchases from Indonesia from 2017 to 2018, down in value by -3.5%. Among the other 14 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of -2.5% for India up to 27.8% for Vietnam.
Indonesia went from an $11.4 billion trade surplus during 2017 to incur an overall -$8.5 billion trade deficit for 2018.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
- China: -US$18.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2018)
- Singapore: -$8.4 billion
- Thailand: -$4.1 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$3.7 billion
- Australia: -$3 billion
- Nigeria: -$2.1 billion
- Qatar: -$1.3 billion
- Germany: -$1.3 billion
- Argentina: -$1.2 billion
- Canada: -$926.5 million
Among Indonesia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Indonesian deficits with Germany (up 109.7%), Singapore (up 100%) and Saudi Arabia (up 73%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Indonesia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Indonesia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
- India: US$8.7 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2018)
- United States: $8.3 billion
- Philippines: $5.9 billion
- Netherlands: $2.7 billion
- Pakistan: $1.8 billion
- Bangladesh: $1.8 billion
- Spain: $1.6 billion
- Japan: $1.5 billion
- Taiwan: $1.1 billion
- Egypt: $893.8 million
Three among Indonesia’s trading partners generated positive trade balances from 2017 to 2018: Bangladesh (up 17.8%), Spain (up 1.6%) and the Philippines (up 1.3%).
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Indonesia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Indonesia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Indonesian Trading Partners
Nine Indonesian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Indonesian conglomerates that Forbes included:
- Gudang Garam (Tobacco)
- Semen Indonesia (Construction Materials)
- Telekom Indonesia (Telecommunications services)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Indonesia. Selected examples are shown below:
- Astra International (financial/industrial conglomerate)
- Bumi Resources (coal)
- Djarum (tobacco cigarettes)
- Dragon Computer & Communication (computer hardware)
- Krakatau Steel (steel products)
- MedcoEnergi (oil, gas)
- Pertamina (oil, natural gas)
- United Tractors (heavy equipment)
See also Indonesia’s Top 10 Exports, Indonesia’s Top 10 Imports, Top Asian Export Countries and Coal Exports by Country
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2019
Alibaba, Sourcing Buyers. Accessed on March 16, 2019