A Guide to the Top Import & Export Business Ideas in 2024

Top Import & Export Business Ideas for 2024

InCorp Editorial Team

Table of Content

The world of international trade is brimming with opportunity, and 2024 promises to be an exciting year for entrepreneurs seeking to venture into the import-export arena. This guide will explore the top import and export business ideas for the year ahead. 

Indonesia Import and Export Statistics

A Guide to the Top Import & Export Business Ideas in 2024

According to the latest report from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the country’s exports in January 2024 stood at an impressive USD 20.52 billion, while the imports were recorded at USD 18.51 billion for the same month. Further insights on the export and import trend can be found below.

Export Trends

  • Indonesia’s export value in January 2024 amounted to USD 20.52 billion, marking an 8.34% decrease compared to December 2023 and an 8.06% decrease compared to January 2023.
  • Non-oil and gas exports in January 2024 reached USD 19.13 billion, reflecting an 8.54% decrease compared to December 2023 and an 8.20% decrease compared to January 2023.
  • In January 2024, key destinations for non-oil and gas exports were China (USD 4.57 billion), the United States (USD 1.99 billion), and India (USD 1.79 billion), collectively contributing 43.64%. Additionally, exports to ASEAN and the European Union amounted to USD 3.26 billion and USD 1.48 billion, respectively.

Import Trends

  • Indonesia’s imports in January 2024 totaled USD 18.51 billion, a decrease of 3.13% compared to December 2023 but a slight increase of 0.36% compared to January 2023.
  • Oil and gas imports in January 2024 amounted to USD 2.70 billion, reflecting a 19.99% decrease compared to December 2023 and a 7.15% decrease compared to January 2023.
  • Non-oil and gas imports in January 2024 reached USD 15.81 billion, up 0.48% from December 2023 and 1.76% from January 2023.
  • Indonesia recorded a trade surplus of USD 2.02 billion in January 2024, primarily driven by a USD 3.32 billion non-oil and gas surplus. However, oil and gas imports were in a deficit of USD 1.30 billion.

Profitable Import Commodities

Indonesia’s trade surplus in early 2024 is a positive indicator of the country’s economy. To shed more light on Indonesia’s imports, the following information will help you understand the significant role played by various commodities.

Import Commodities

Here are some common types of imports needed by Indonesia:

Type of commoditiesDescription
GoodsFood and Beverage ConsumptionTransportation Equipment
Auxiliary Raw MaterialsFood Industry Raw MaterialsChemicals and Pharmaceuticals
Capital GoodsIndustrial Machinery and EquipmentBuilding Materials
Non-oil and Gas CommoditiesAgricultural ProductsAgricultural and Livestock GoodsMineral Products
Electronic and Technology GoodsElectronic Devices: Items like smartphones, computers, etc.
Luxury GoodsLuxury Products: Luxury items like jewelry, bags, shoes, and other luxury fashion products.

List of Import and Export Commodities in Indonesia


Here are the top 15 key commodities of Indonesia that play a significant role in imports:

1. Wheat Flour

USD 45.29 million of wheat flour, weighing approximately 104.21 million kilograms, has been imported into Indonesia from Sri Lanka, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Japan, and other countries.

2. Soybean Imports

Soybean imports reached USD 735.437 million, with a total volume of approximately 1.19 billion kilograms. The United States, Argentina, Malaysia, Paraguay, Canada, and others supply soybeans to Indonesia.

3. Vegetables

Vegetables are also listed in the import list, primarily from China. The value reached USD 526.8 with a volume of 603.8 million kilograms.

4. Mineral Fuels and Oils

Imports of mineral fuels and oils from Iran have a total value of USD 364.6 million.

5. Salt and Sulfur

Imports of salt and sulfur worth USD 22 million from Iran.

6. Corn

Corn is imported with a total value of USD 544.189 million from several countries, such as India, Argentina, Brazil, Thailand, Paraguay, and others, with a volume reaching 1.8 billion kilograms.

7. Fertilizers

Indonesia imports fertilizers worth USD 523.8 million from China, a quantity of about 2.3 million tons.

8. Iron and Steel Pipes

Imports of iron and steel pipes worth USD 414.1 million from China are worth about 280.4 thousand tons. Meanwhile, iron and steel worth USD 16.4 million are also imported from Iran.

9. Copper

Indonesia has also imported copper worth USD 376.8 million or around from China, weighing 67.1 million kilograms.

10. Granulated Sugar

Imports of granulated sugar reached a total value of USD 31.11 million with an import weight of 52.45 million kilograms from several countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and others.

11. Fruits

Indonesia’s imported fruits have a value of USD 741.3 million, with China being the main contributor with around 397.7 million kilograms.

12. Aluminum

Indonesia imports aluminum worth USD 881.2 million from China, with a total weight of 311.11 million kilograms.

13. Rice

Rice remains one of Indonesia’s imported commodities from countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, etc. The total import value reaches USD 156.332 million with an import volume of 302.71 million kilograms.

14. Crude Oil

Imports of crude oil from China reached USD 286.7 million with a total weight of about 436.2 thousand tons.

15. Tobacco

Indonesia has imported tobacco worth USD 169.2 million from China, weighing 38.5 million kilograms.


Here are the top 10 key commodities of Indonesia that play a significant role in exports:

1. Shrimp

Indonesia exported 5.33 million kilograms of shrimp worth around USD 36.75 million from January to November 2021, with exports growing at an average annual rate of 4.91% over the past five years. Major destinations include Japan, China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.

2. Coffee

In 2021, Indonesia produced 765 thousand tons of coffee beans, including the renowned civet coffee, one of the world’s most expensive. Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, and others are the main export destinations for Indonesian coffee.

3. Palm Oil

Palm oil is one of Indonesia’s most prominent export commodities. The total production of palm oil in 2021 reached 51.3 million tons, with exports to Malaysia, China, India, and several other nations.

4. Cocoa

In 2020, Indonesia was the world’s third-largest cocoa producer, yielding approximately 740 thousand tons. Processed cocoa products are exported to countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and others.

5. Rubber and Rubber Products

Indonesia exports rubber products to five continents, with major destinations including Malaysia, Japan, the Philippines, and other countries where rubber is crucial for manufacturing.

6. Textile and Textile Products (TPT) Industry

The textile industry produces various products, such as clothing, bedding, and bags, and exports them to Singapore, Japan, and Ethiopia.

7. Footwear

Indonesia also manufactures footwear, especially sports shoes, which are popular internationally. These products are exported to Japan, Malaysia, and the USA.

8. Electronics

Indonesian electronic products, especially household necessities, are exported to countries such as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

9. Automotive Components

Motor vehicle parts are exported to countries such as China, Malaysia, and India.

10. Furniture

The Indonesian furniture industry produces products like tables, chairs, and cabinets and exports them to various countries, including Japan, Australia, and the USA.

Prospects and Challenges for the Indonesian Economy in 2024

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that Indonesia’s economy will grow by 5.0% in 2024, while the World Bank’s projection is slightly lower at 4.9%. Robust domestic consumption and government spending will support Indonesia’s economic growth.

Additionally, Indonesia faces specific domestic challenges in 2024, including:

  • The 2024 presidential and legislative elections might create political and economic uncertainty, affecting investment decisions and consumer spending.
  • Global increases in food and energy prices might lead to higher inflation in Indonesia, reducing people’s purchasing power and slowing economic growth.
  • Government budget deficits due to higher government spending on election preparation and infrastructure development may increase the country’s debt burden.
  • Weakening rupiah can lead to higher prices for imported goods and increased production costs for companies.

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Streamline Your Trade Journey with InCorp Indonesia

Navigating Indonesia’s complex export and import regulations can be daunting. InCorp Indonesia is your trusted partner, offering comprehensive services, including:

  • Export from Indonesia: Simplify your export process, ensuring compliance and minimizing delays.
  • Import License: Secure the necessary permits to import goods seamlessly.
  • Importer of Record: Leverage our expertise as your legal representative for import activities.

Let InCorp Indonesia handle the complexities of Indonesian trade, allowing you to focus on confidently growing your business. Fill out the form below to get started.

Pandu Biasramadhan

Senior Consulting Manager at InCorp Indonesia

An expert for more than 10 years, Pandu Biasramadhan, has an extensive background in providing top-quality and comprehensive business solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managing regional partnership channels across Southeast Asia.

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