Foreign Affairs/US-Indonesia Relations

Mahendra Siregar Named Deputy Foreign Minister for Important Negotiations

Indonesian Ambassador to the United States Mahendra Siregar has been appointed by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as deputy minister of foreign affairs and tasked with concluding trade negotiations with the US and supporting the palm oil industry. The former deputy trade minister and deputy finance minister told the press that the Generalized System Preferences (GSP) review by the US, which includes preferential trade terms such as special tariffs for a number of countries, will need to be concluded within one month. “The President agrees to conclude the GSP review within one month, because it has a direct impact that could double Indonesia’s trade, including an increase in exports by US$10 billion to $25 billion in the next two to five years,” Mahendra said after a meeting with Jokowi at the Presidential Palace on Friday. “Secondly, securing sustainability of the palm oil industry is important and needs to be well guided. The stakes are too high,” Mahendra continued. In a briefing document handed to journalists, President Jokowi set a target to reach $25 billion in palm oil exports and save $10 billion in foreign exchange reserves. (His replacement has yet to be named.)