Indonesia-UAE open negotiations on comprehensive trade deal

Indonesia-UAE open negotiations on comprehensive trade deal

Indonesian Minister of Trade, Muhammad Lutfi (right), and Minister of Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, at the launch of trade negotiations in Bogor, West Java on Thursday (September 2, 2021). (ANTARA/ Sella Panduarsa Gareta/ak)

Bogor (ANTARA) - Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday started negotiations within the framework of the Indonesia-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IUAE-CEPA) to strengthen bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

"We are proud to launch the IUAE-CEPA negotiations, which also mark a new chapter of trade relations between the two countries," Indonesian Minister of Trade, Muhammad Lutfi, said at a ceremony held in Bogor, West Java on Thursday for the launch of negotiations.

While signing a joint statement on the launch of the IUAE-CEPA negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Lutfi said the cooperation is an important effort made by the two nations to increase trade that could benefit the economies of both countries and the welfare of the people.

The launch also marks the start of the first round of IUAE-CEPA negotiations, which will be held on September 2-4, 2021. The two countries have committed to complete the comprehensive economic agreement within one year of its launch or by 2022, Lutfi informed.

The Minister of Trade said he believes the IUAE-CEPA can be completed within one year because pre-negotiations have been carried out. In addition, the UAE has also committed to signing the cooperation agreement immediately.

"We see that the UAE wants to finish quickly. So, there is trade in goods, trade in services, investment, those are important things to discuss in negotiations. So, I think this can be completed in a year or even sooner," Lutfi said.

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The agreement to increase economic cooperation through the IUAE-CEPA was reached during meetings between Lutfi and Al Zeyoudi on April 8, 2021 and March 30, 2021.

As a comprehensive agreement, Lutfi noted, the initiative will cover market access, rules to facilitate trade and investment, as well as cooperation.

“CEPA must be a reliable and inclusive economic platform that will elevate various business sectors of all scales, from multinational companies to small and medium enterprises,” he said.

According to the Minister of Trade, there are three main things that make CEPA important for Indonesia and the UAE. First, historically, CEPA is Indonesia's first negotiation with a country in the Gulf region, and this is the first negotiation for the UAE with trading partners in Asia, he said.

Second, Indonesia and the UAE, as two main economic powers, need to strengthen cooperation so that they can complement each other, he added. Especially, in this challenging time of the pandemic, new breakthroughs are needed to encourage the economies of the two countries, he said.

Third, CEPA is expected to not only be a partnership or cooperation between the two governments (G to G), but also between business actors (B to B) and the people of the two countries, he added.

CEPA is expected to further build trust between the two countries to increase trade and investment as well as the intensity of meetings for sustainable cooperation, Lutfi said.

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He emphasized that the IUAE-CEPA can significantly boost productivity, innovation, job creation, business collaboration, and contribute to poverty alleviation in both nations.

Minister Al Zeyoudi said the UAE's longstanding bilateral relationship with Indonesia is based on close cultural ties and a shared commitment to enable greater economic development and the prosperity of the people of the two countries.

“The IUAE-CEPA is built on the strong economic relationship between the UAE and Indonesia. The IUAE-CEPA will be the basis for a closer partnership for mutual progress by creating new opportunities, attracting greater investment and employment, and accelerating global economic recovery," Minister Al Zeyoudi said.

He is scheduled to hold an honorary meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo on September 3, 2021.

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