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Backgrounds: Indonesia US Relations
The United States has important economic, commercial, and security interests in Indonesia. Indonesia remains a linchpin of regional security due to its strategic location astride a number of key international maritime straits. Relations between Indonesia and the United States are good. The United States played an important role in Indonesian independence in the late 1940s and appreciated Indonesia's role as a staunch anti-communist bulwark during the Cold War. Cordial and cooperative relations are maintained today, although any formal security treaties do not bind the two countries. The United States and Indonesia share the common goal of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region and engaging in a dialogue on threats to regional security. The United States has welcomed Indonesia's contributions to regional security, especially its leading role in helping restore democracy in Cambodia and in mediating among the many territorial claimants in the South China Sea.
The United States is committed to assisting Indonesia's democratic transition and supports the territorial integrity of the country. There are, nonetheless, friction points in the bilateral political relationship. These have centered primarily on East Timor and human rights, as well as on differences in our respective foreign policy orientations. The U.S. Congress cut off grant military training assistance (IMET) to Indonesia in 1992 in response to a November 12, 1991, incident in East Timor in which Indonesian security forces shot and killed East Timorese demonstrators. This restriction was partially lifted in 1995. Military assistance programs were again suspended, however, in the aftermath of the violence and destruction in East Timor following the August 30, 1999 referendum favoring separation from Indonesia. Indonesia continues to align itself with Non-Aligned Movement and G-77 foreign policy views, often taking unhelpful positions on issues of international human rights concern.
On worker rights, Indonesia was the target of several petitions filed under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) legislation arguing that Indonesia did not meet internationally recognized labor standards. A formal GSP review was suspended in February 1994 without terminating GSP benefits for Indonesia. Since 1998, Indonesia has ratified all eight International Labor Organization core conventions on protecting internationally recognized worker rights and allowed trade unions to organize. However, enforcement of labor laws and protection of workers rights remains inconsistent and weak in some areas. Continuing economic malaise has increased difficulties for workers and caused an increase in child labor (10-14 years old).
Economic Relations With the United States
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided development assistance to Indonesia since 1950. Initial assistance focused on the most urgent needs of the new republic, including food aid, infrastructure rehabilitation, health care, and training. Through the 1970s, a time of great economic growth in Indonesia, USAID played a major role in helping the country achieve self-sufficiency in rice production and in reducing the birth rate.
USAID's current program aims to support Indonesia as it recovers from the financial crisis by providing food aid, employment generating activities, and maintaining critical public health services. USAID also is providing technical advisers to help the Indonesian Government implement economic reforms and fiscal decentralization and is supporting democratization and civil society development activities through non-governmental organizations.
The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia is located at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan 3-5, Jakarta (tel. (62-021) 3435-9000). U.S. mail to the embassy may be addressed to FPO AP 96520.
The U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya is located at Jalan Dr. Sutomo 33, Surabaya East Java (tel. (62-31) 568-2287).
The U.S. Consular Agency in Bali is located at Jalan Hayam Wuruk 188, Bali (tel. (62-361) 233-605.
For information on economic trends, commercial development, production, trade regulations, and tariff rates, contact the International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.
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