US vice president hails $10bn in Indonesia deals

US Vice President Mike Pence (left) shakes hands with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla during a business forum in Jakarta o Friday. (EPA photo)

US Vice President Mike Pence announced 11 major deals valued at more than US$10 billion between US and Indonesian companies, mostly in energy and defence.

The agreements include ExxonMobil Mobil supplying liquid natural gas, General Electric building electrical infrastructure and Lockheed Martin providing technology for F-16 fighter jets, according to a statement on Friday.

Indonesia is the third stop on Pence’s 10-day swing through Asia.

“These deals represent the tremendous excitement that American companies feel about opportunities in Indonesia,” Pence said during a meeting with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Indonesia has come under scrutiny from US President Donald Trump, who has ordered a country-by-country, sector-by-sector global study of US trade deficits.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy ran a surplus with the United States of $13 billion last year, largely via exports of textiles, footwear, fishery products and natural resources.

Trump has said the trade abuse probe will crack down on “foreign importers that cheat.” That is causing concern in Jakarta, with Iman Pambagyo, the trade ministry’s director general for international trade negotiation, saying recently he was “puzzled with the signals being sent from Washington.”

Other US companies involved in the deals include Greenbelt Resources, Halliburton, Honeywell International and Ormat Technologies.

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