Applying a continental lens, 70.3% of Indonesia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 12.5% were sold to importers in North America. Indonesia shipped another 11.1% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (2.8%), Oceania led by Australia (2%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.4%).
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 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Indonesian exports.
- China: US$31.8 billion (19.5% of total Indonesian exports)
- United States: $18.7 billion (11.4%)
- Japan: $13.7 billion (8.4%)
- Singapore: $10.7 billion (6.6%)
- India: $10.4 billion (6.4%)
- Malaysia: $8.1 billion (5%)
- South Korea: $6.5 billion (4%)
- Philippines: $5.9 billion (3.6%)
- Thailand: $5.1 billion (3.1%)
- Vietnam: $4.9 billion (3%)
- Taiwan: $4.1 billion (2.5%)
- Netherlands: $3.1 billion (1.9%)
- Australia: $2.51 billion (1.5%)
- Germany: $2.46 billion (1.5%)
- Switzerland: $2.4 billion (1.5%)
Roughly four-fifths (79.8%) of Indonesian exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Increasing at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020 were purchases of Indonesian exported goods by Switzerland (up 223.8%), China (up 13.6%) and Australia (up 7.6%).
Cutting back their imports from Indonesia by double-digits were Thailand (down -17.8%), Singapore (down -17.1%), Japan (down -14.6%), Philippines (down -12.9%), India (down -11.9%) and South Korea (down -10.1%).
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$7.9 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Australia: -$2.1 billion
- Singapore: -$1.6 billion
- Argentina: -$1.6 billion
- Brazil: -$1.5 billion
- Thailand: -$1.4 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$1.3 billion
- Canada: -$826.4 million
- Ukraine: -$739.1 million
- Hong Kong: -$709.9 million
Among Indonesian’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Indonesian deficits with Brazil (up 64.8%) was responsible for the sole increase from 2019 to 2020.
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.
Indonesia went from an overall -$3.6 billion trade deficit in 2019 to then generate an estimated $21.7 billion trade surplus for 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$10 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- India: $6.6 billion
- Philippines: $5.3 billion
- Japan: $3 billion
- Netherlands: $2.3 billion
- Pakistan: $2.2 billion
- Vietnam: $1.8 billion
- Switzerland: $1.7 billion
- Bangladesh: $1.6 billion
- Malaysia: $1.2 billion
Among Indonesian’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Indonesian surpluses with Switzerland (up 3,716%), Japan (up 776%), Pakistan (up 39.9%) and Vietnam (up 38.7%) grew at the fastest percentage pace from 2019 to 2020.
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 April 17, 2021
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on April 17, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 17, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 17, 2021
Alibaba, Sourcing Buyers. Accessed on April 17, 2021