The Nickel War: Politics, Power, and Profit

Indonesia China

  • The nickel war ensued as Indonesian nickel flooded the global market. Indonesia’s ambition to maximize the value-add from its nickel resources has propelled its global market share of nickel output to approximately 53% last year, up from about 34% in 2019.
  • Indonesian nickel has become a symbol of trade rivalry and geopolitical tension between China and the West. The China-Indonesia partnership challenges traditional Western institutions and values, including the role of the WTO and the ideology of free trade. 
  • The downstreaming policy and other programs will serve as a proving ground for the depth of Prabowo and Jokowi’s relationship. It will be a testbed to reveal how both figures manage conflicts and resolve differences in interests and perspectives.

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