Indonesia Announces Bauxite Export Ban

Indonesia will ban bauxite exports next year, President Joko Widodo announced. The Southeast Asian country is the sixth largest ore exporter of aluminium production.

In the short term, the intervention could drive up prices for the commonly used metal found in beverage cans, refrigerators and airplanes, among other things.

The export ban will take effect in the second half of 2023. Jokowi, as the Indonesian president is also known, hopes that more bauxite will be processed in his own country after that. As a result, “the added value remains in the country, for the benefit of the people’s progress and prosperity,” he said via video site YouTube.

It is not the first protectionist intervention by Indonesia under Jokowi; according to him, it will not be the last. He previously restricted the export of nickel, an essential raw material for electric car batteries. In addition, the World Trade Organization ruled after a complaint from the European Union that Indonesia violated international rules on free trade. Jakarta has appealed against that decision.

Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, wants to process its natural resources more and more within its borders instead of selling them directly abroad. However, earlier this month, Jokowi stated that Indonesia is not aiming for a fully open economy because such a model would have lagged behind the growth of, for example, Latin American countries for decades.

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