Indonesia strengthens local iron, steel industry to reduce imports hinh anh 1A worker handles steel pipes at Sunda Kelapa Harbor in Jakarta. (Photo: Jakarta Post)

Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has instructed his cabinet members to increase the availability of raw materials for the steel and iron industry so as to support infrastructure development while slashing imports.

At the cabinet meeting on February 12, the President stated that steel and iron, the third-largest import products in the country, contributed the most to the trade deficit.

Therefore, Indonesia needs to make the industry become more competitive and optimise its production, he added.

Indonesia’s imports of iron and steel amounted to 10.39 billion USD in 2019, up 1.42 percent year on year, according to Statistics Indonesia. Despite recording relatively small growth, iron and steel products are the only Indonesian import commodities seeing an expansion during the period in the context that purchase of non-oil and gas products from foreign countries contracted 6.3 percent year on year.

Widodo said the country should firstly boost raw material availability to support the local steel and iron industry, along with improving the ecosystem of raw materials with price stability.

He also called for a review of several regulations related to scrap metal while paying attention to environmental sustainability.

Besides, he asked for better calculations regarding the impact of steel imports on the quality and price competition with domestic steel, and utilisation of the non-tariff policy such as the national standard implementation to protect the domestic steel industry./.