Indonesia is expected to propose a limited free trade agreement (FTA) for specific battery-related minerals that are shipped to the United States. The proposal seeks to allow companies involved in the electric vehicle battery supply chain in the country to benefit from the US’ tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Indonesia’s proposal for a limited free trade agreement was mentioned by a senior Indonesian minister on Monday, according to a Reuters report. Indonesian minister Luhut Pandjaitan alluded to the idea during a news conference.
“We do not have an FTA with them. Now we’re proposing a limited FTA with them,” the official said. He also stated that he intends to meet with Ford and Tesla executives during an upcoming visit to the United States.
Septian Hario Seto, the official’s deputy, also stated that the FTA proposal would probably be similar to a deal that the United States had signed with Japan on EV battery minerals. The United States and Japan had previously reached an agreement on a rapidly negotiated trade deal involving battery minerals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese, the publication noted.
“It’s the same in essence, that for critical minerals there will be free trade with requirements on processing, such as for nickel, aluminium, cobalt, copper,” Seto noted.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) recently issued new guidance for EV tax credits. This guidance requires a certain value of battery components to be produced or assembled in North America or a free trade partner. Indonesia does not currently have a free trade agreement with the US.
Being home to the world’s largest nickel reserves, Indonesia has the potential to be a powerhouse in the electric vehicle era. It is then unsurprising to see the country putting in a lot of effort to secure deals with the giants of the EV sector, such as Tesla.
Indonesia has been working hard to attract an investment from Tesla for some time. Almost a year ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk accommodated a delegation of Indonesian officials at Gigafactory Texas. Musk and Indonesian officials have maintained warm relations since, with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo noting last February that the country has a good chance at securing a deal with the electric vehicle maker.