Friday, April 19, 2024

Government delegation holds talks in US on critical mineral program

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Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, reveals that an Indonesian delegation has just returned from the United States for talks on the continuation of the critical mineral program, with results of the negotiation might only be obtained after the US Presidential Election.

“Our team has just returned from Washington to follow up on discussions regarding the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). We hope it can be concluded in the near future,” Luhut said on Monday, February 26, 2024.

He described the communication between Indonesia and the US regarding the IRA has been progressing well.

“I believe there might be one more step to be taken,”Luhut stated.

Indonesia is striving to enter the electric vehicle battery industry ecosystem in the US. This aligns with the significant incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for the clean technology industry, including the electric vehicle battery industry, with a value of up to USD 370 billion.

According to the IRA, Indonesian nickel does not qualify for subsidies or incentives because Indonesia does not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

Although negotiations are going well, Luhut said the finalization of critical mineral discussions would take place after the US Presidential Election.

“Elections everywhere become handicapped. So, we have to wait until the US Presidential Election in November is over before we conclude it,” he added.

President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, previously met with US President Joe Biden at the White House on November 13, 2023. They held intensive discussions to reach an agreement on critical minerals, especially nickel.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif stated that the discussion started due to the seriousness of one US Senate member regarding Indonesian minerals, particularly nickel.

“Yesterday, President [Jokowi] and Biden have already talked and agreed to create a critical mineral program,” Arifin said last November.

Arifin mentioned that this program would be followed up, and there would be a specific party to handle the program to ensure its implementation. Regarding this matter, Arifin conveyed that both parties would only discuss nickel at the moment.

“First, form a team from here, from the U.S. team; hopefully, it can be done quickly,” he said.

“Well, let’s start with nickel because it’s the most critical,” he added.

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