That dollar amount reflects a 35.2% increase compared to 2017 when Indonesian exports totaled $168.8 billion and a 39.8% expansion from $163.3 billion in 2020.
The top 5 countries buying exported products from Indonesia are mainland China, United States of America, Japan, India and Malaysia. Combined, that quintet of leading customers paid for over half (53.6%) of revenues that Indonesia collected for its total exports in 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 71.6% of Indonesia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 12.3% were sold to importers in North America. Indonesia spent another 9.9% on goods shipped to Europe.
Lower percentages went to Africa (3%), Oceania led by Australia (1.8%), then Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Indonesia’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Indonesia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Indonesian shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Indonesian exports.
- China: US$53.7 billion (23.5% of total Indonesian exports)
- United States: $25.7 billion (11.2%)
- Japan: $17.7 billion (7.8%)
- India: $13.3 billion (5.8%)
- Malaysia: $11.9 billion (5.2%)
- Singapore: $11.2 billion (4.9%)
- Philippines: $8.6 billion (3.7%)
- South Korea: $8.4 billion (3.7%)
- Thailand: $6.94 billion (3%)
- Taiwan: $6.86 billion (3%)
- Vietnam: $6.7 billion (2.9%)
- Netherlands: $4.6 billion (2%)
- Pakistan: $3.8 billion (1.7%)
- Australia: $3 billion (1.3%)
- Bangladesh: $2.9 billion (1.3%)
- Germany: $2.8 billion (1.2%)
- Italy: $2.79 billion (1.2%)
- Spain: $2.3 billion (1%)
- Hong Kong: $1.9 billion (0.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: $1.8 billion (0.8%)
- Egypt: $1.63 billion (0.7%)
- Belgium: $1.61 billion (0.7%)
- Turkey: $1.54 billion (0.7%)
- Saudi Arabia: $1.54 billion (0.7%)
- United Kingdom: $1.47 billion (0.6%)
Roughly nine-tenths (89.7%) of Indonesian exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Increasing at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021 were purchases of Indonesian exported goods made by Bangladesh (up 73.2%), mainland China (up 69%), Taiwan (up 67.3%), Italy (up 59.9%), Pakistan (up 59.7%) and Egypt (up 54.7%).
One top importers cut back on its purchases of goods exported from Indonesia from 2020 to 2021 namely Hong Kong via a -5% reduction.
Countries Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Indonesia
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.
- Australia: -US$6.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Singapore: -$4.2 billion
- Mainland China: -$2.5 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$2.4 billion
- Thailand: -$2.2 billion
- Argentina: -$1.8 billion
- Nigeria: -$1.6 billion
- Brazil: -$1.3 billion
- South Korea: -$1 billion
- Canada: -$996.1 million
Among Indonesia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Indonesian deficits with Nigeria (up 249.4%), Australia (up 198.6%) and South Korea (up 197%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Causing Biggest Trade Surpluses for Indonesia
Indonesia generated an overall $32.5 billion trade surplus for 2021, up by 50% from $21.7 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- United States: US$14.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Philippines: $7.3 billion
- India: $5.6 billion
- Netherlands: $3.8 billion
- Pakistan: $3.6 billion
- Japan: $3.5 billion
- Bangladesh: $2.8 billion
- Taiwan: $2.51 billion
- Malaysia: $2.46 billion
- Vietnam: $2.45 billion
Among Indonesia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Indonesian surpluses with Taiwan (up 429.5%), Malaysia (up 105.3%) and Bangladesh (up 74.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Major Indonesian Export Companies
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, Palm Oil Exports by Country and Coal Exports by Country
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 30, 2022
Alibaba, Sourcing Buyers. Accessed on May 30, 2022