The negotiations are important for Indonesia as an ASEAN member country to expand market access for both goods and services.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has continued to strengthen economic cooperation through the ASEAN-Canada Free Trade Agreement (ACAFTA) negotiations to anticipate the impacts of the ongoing global economic slowdown.

"The negotiations are important for Indonesia as an ASEAN member country to expand market access for both goods and services,” head of the Center for Bilateral Regional Policy of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF), Nella Sri Hendriyetty, said.

The attempt could also increase competitiveness and help Indonesia enter global and regional value chains, she added, according to a statement released on Thursday.

She made the remarks while opening the Plenary and Caucus Meeting of the ACAFTA Sub Working Group on Financial Services, which was held in Tangerang, Banten province, from May 22–24, 2023.

The meeting was attended by representatives from ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, and Canada.

The meeting was an key part of the implementation of ACAFTA that aims to encourage economic growth, increase investment, and improve market access for Southeast Asian countries and Canada.

At the meeting, officials from institutions in charge of financial service implementation in each country discussed various financial service provisions, which are expected to increase fair trade and investment for all parties in the sector.

Hendriyetty said she expects that the meeting will significantly contribute to attempts to complete the negotiations and realize the implementation of ACAFTA as well as strengthen trade cooperation between ASEAN and Canada.

The meeting is also expected to encourage the development of various new, efficient, and sound sources of growth in the financial services sector to bolster the economy of Indonesia and other ASEAN member countries.

In addition to ACAFTA, ASEAN member countries, along with Australia and New Zealand, are striving to complete the 2nd Protocol to Amend the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZ-FTA).

The completion of the AANZ-FTA amendment has been included as one of the 16 priority economic deliverables (PED) of Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship this year.

According to the results of the 22nd Plenary Session Meeting of the ASEAN Economic Community Council on May 7, 2023, there has been a positive development regarding the amendment of the free trade agreement.

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Translator: Agatha Victoria, Uyu Liman
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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