Remarks by Ambassador Blake at Rumah Tempeh, Bogor, West Java

Mr. Bima Arya, Mayor of Bogor, Dr. Roy Sparringa, Head of BPOM and Professor Astawan, Chairman of the Indonesian Tempe Forum.

I am delighted to be visiting the beautiful city of Bogor to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Tempeh Forum and the Indonesian Soybean Association to further promote the consumption of tempeh and tofu.

This is great news in a number of ways.

First, I like tempeh – tempeh bacem, tempeh goreng, tempeh menduan so there will be lots more opportunities to enjoy tempeh for me and Indonesia’s tempeh consumers.

Second, this is good for agricultural trade.  Agricultural trade between the United States and Indonesia is at record levels and constitutes an important portion of our overall bilateral trade.

Indonesia exported $4.3 billion of agricultural products to the US in 2013. The U.S. exported a record 2.9 billion dollars in 2013. So Indonesia enjoys a substantial surplus.

So your efforts will help make our trade balanced.

Indonesia imports up to 90 percent of its soybean requirement, with 75 percent of these imports coming from the United States.

We fully support the trade in soybeans as well as other agricultural goods, and I want to assure you that the United States is a reliable source safe, quality food.

The food we send to Indonesia is the same food we eat in the United States and serve to our own children.

Just as important, U.S. soybeans bring real advantages to Indonesians. The same way that Indonesia provides the United States with high quality, low-cost food products like shrimp, cocoa, or coffee, U.S. soybeans ensure that Indonesians have access to high-quality foods at the lowest possible cost.

Trade is especially important to the tempeh industry, which is dominated by small holders. These food producers, who labor under demanding conditions, know that the value of their work is ensured by reliable access to high-quality, low-cost soybeans.

Which is why the United States is supportive and appreciative of the work done at Rumah Tempeh on behalf of Indonesia’s tempeh manufacturers. Food safety, novel uses of soybeans, and product promotion improve tempeh producer’s bottom line.

I am also pleased that the National Agency for Drug and Food Control (BPOM) will award a license to Rumah Tempeh to operate as a commercial food manufacturer, thereby recognizing that Rumah Tempeh meets hygienic food manufacturing standards, giving credence to its food science extension activities.

Their work supports safe, affordable food for Indonesian consumers, and it creates economic opportunities for Americans and Indonesians alike.