Indonesia Warns Trump Not to Ruin World With Protectionist Trade Measures

Indonesian finance minister said Monday that the United States needs to resist protectionist trade measures that could “ruin the world” and destroy progress made in reducing global poverty.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati stated that she remained optimistic that the recent U.S. tariffs affecting other major Asian economies would not turn into a trade war as open global trade had been the essential thing that is reducing world poverty over the last 30 years.

“That is why you don’t want to ruin the world. It could be one or two practices you want to correct, but don’t destroy the achievement that is already remarkable – and that is good for the United States and good for the world,” Indrawati said.

Indrawati also commented on the dollar’s decline that is the lowest since 2010 and still continues to drop since U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin noted last week that the weakness had its advantages.

“The U.S. dollar should be reflecting the fundamentals of their economy. It’s not going to be a tool to boosting of their competitiveness,” Indrawati said.

Adding, “We are hoping, as President Trump said, that ‘America First’ does not mean America alone.”

According to Reuters, Indrawati was in London to help launch the second “komodo” bond, a rupiah-denominated bond sold in international debt markets rather than in Jakarta and named after the large, aggressive lizard found only in Indonesia. This one was from state-owned infrastructure and procurement firm, Wijaya Karya, which raised 5.4 trillion rupiahs ($404.13 million) as part of the government’s plans to get its firms to broaden their sources of financing.

The Indonesian Finance Minister stated that the government was putting in new rules mean to prevent state-owned enterprises or their subsidiaries from receiving any infrastructure project contract worth under $40 million.

Later she commented that Indonesia is working toward a U.S. dollar-denominated “Green,” sukuk bond.

“I think it is very good feedback from bond investors and when the time is right we will bring the issue with the right size as well as the right structure.”

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