The US is interested in a 'win-win relationship' with Indonesia
Following a meeting with the Indonesian President – which was seen by many as nothing more than a courtesy call – Mr Pence said the US was interested in a “win-win relationship” with south east Asia’s biggest economy.
Indonesia is one of 16 countries under review for having a trade surplus with the US.
Official data from the country’s ministry puts total trade between the two countries at $23.44billion in 2016 – with Indonesia recording a surplus of $8.84billion.
Indonesia mainly exports textiles, footwear and seafood, and its predominant imports from the US include aircraft, machinery and soybeans.
In a joint press conference following Thursday’s talks, President Joko Widodo said his country had secured commitments from the US to improve the two countries’ strategic partnership, adding that the focus would be on trade and investment in the future.
He added that both Indonesia and the US would also strengthen cooperation for peace.
According to Vice President Pence, Donald Trump holds the US-Indonesia Strategic Partnership in high regard.
The partnership was established by the two countries in 2011, during the Obama administration.
Mr Pence said that both countries must now work to break down barriers to ensure American exporters can fully participate in the Indonesian market, with the same freedom enjoyed by many Indonesians across many sectors of the US economy.
US Vice President Mike Pence toured a mosque in Jakarta
US Vice-President Mike Pence's visit to Asia in pictures
Thu, April 20, 2017
US Vice President Mike Pence is on a ten-day visit to Asia
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Nasarudin Umar (L) and Muhammad Muzammil Basyuni (R) show the Istiqlal grand mosque to US Vice President Mike Pence in Jakarta
Washington had billed the Vice President’s visit to Jakarta as a booster for a strategic partnership between the world's second- and third-largest democracies, but it was feared that a raft of bilateral disputes with U.S. companies could sap the goodwill from his trip.
Over the past six months, Indonesia has wrestled with mining giant Freeport McMoRan, demanding the company divests 51 per cent of its shares in its Papua-based gold and copper mine, as well as demanding Google settle unpaid taxes of more than $400million.
Jakarta also deleted JP Morgan from its list of primary bond dealers after what was deemed a negative research report.
Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said: "This visit is happening entirely independent of our current negotiations with the government of Indonesia."