The trade war between economic giants the US and China may have stirred up anxiety about Asean’s fate in the fight, but US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan Jr has sought to soothe concerns, saying that dispute or not, Washington hopes to boost its trade relations with Jakarta.
Last year, bilateral trade stood at about US$29bn – but this was just half the amount between the US and Vietnam, noted Mr Donovan.
The 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the US this year comes amid heightened global tensions, but Mr Donovan is optimistic about the future of wide-ranging ties between the two countries. There are abundant opportunities in areas such as nurturing youth and Indonesia’s booming digital economy. US firms have been working to help equip Indonesians with the skills needed, he said, citing Apple, which chose Indonesia as the site for its first developer academy in South-east Asia, and Google, which offers digital literacy and skills training.