Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Trade can speed up the completion of negotiations on several international agreements between Indonesia and partner nations, according to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

"The settlement of negotiations with potential countries should be accelerated. This is a priority agenda," President Jokowi noted at the State Palace in Jakarta, Thursday.

Jokowi made the statement at the opening of the 2021 Ministry of Trade National Working Meeting.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of Trade Muhammad Lutfi, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, and other relevant officials were other attendees at the meeting.

"We need a new export market. We have completed the IA CEPA (Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) with Australia, Korea, and the EU," President Jokowi stated.

The Indonesia-Australia CEPA was signed on March 4, 2019, and officially took effect on July 5, 2020, after the ratification process spanning 10 months.

Meanwhile, Indonesia and South Korea officially inked a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA) in Seoul on December 18, 2020.

However, the Indonesia-European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (I-EU CEPA) negotiations are still underway.

The 10th round of negotiations got delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and both parties held virtual intercession talks on June 15-26, 2020. Furthermore, the 10th round is expected to be held in March 2021 and planned to be completed by the end of 2021.

"The minister should complete it soon," he remarked.

Jokowi also requested for the implementation of 23 signed bilateral and regional trade agreements.

"Business actors should take advantage of it. I will cite an example. For instance, we already have the IA CEPA with Australia. Look at the opportunities there. I think a big opportunity exists in the automotive sector," President Jokowi pointed out.

Indonesian entrepreneurs can penetrate the market in Australia, and of course, the opportunity will arise for the exports of other MSME products.

"MSMEs have the opportunity to receive assistance and encouragement in order to increase the export value and diversify products to our trading partner countries," Jokowi stated.

The president also called for emphasis to be laid on manufacturing industry sectors that absorb significant workforce.

"For instance, automotive, electronics, textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals as well as food and beverages must be offered stimulus and export facilities. Incentives should be provided to expand markets, especially for non-traditional countries, by capitalizing on the trade cooperation," he explained.

There is also the need to optimize the performance of Indonesian trade representatives abroad.

"We have a trade attaché. We have an ITPC (Indonesian Trade Promotion Center). Everyone must move," President Jokowi affirmed.

Apart from Australia and South Korea, Indonesia has also signed a CEPA with Chile that entered into force on August 10, 2019.

The enactment of the IC-CEPA translates to the abolition of tariffs on 7,669 Indonesian products to Chile, with 78.3 percent of the products directly getting a zero-percent tariff.

Indonesian products, comprising agricultural, canned fishery, and manufactured items, enjoy a zero-percent tariff in the Chilean market.


Translator: Desca L, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2021