Indonesia eyes benefits, added value for MSMEs in latest AANZFTA

Indonesia eyes benefits, added value for MSMEs in latest AANZFTA

Left to right: Director of Service Trade Negotiations of the Ministry of Trade (Kemendag) Basaria Tiara Desika L. Gaol, Director General of International Trade Negotiations Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono, and Director of ASEAN Negotiations Dina Kurniasari attended a press conference at the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting in Semarang, Central Java, Thursday (August 17, 2023). ANTARA/Indra Arief Pribadi

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia targets benefits and added value for MSME business growth in the second protocol for amendments to the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) to be signed at the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting.

"Indeed, there is a special chapter related to MSMEs, trade, and sustainable development. This is a new chapter and is a breakthrough because we just have this with our dialog partner countries," Director of ASEAN Negotiations of Indonesia's Trade Ministry Dina Kurniasari remarked in Semarang, Central Java, Friday.

Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan is planned to chair the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting in Semarang on August 17-22.

Based on the AEM schedule received, the signing of the second amendment protocol to amend the AANZFTA will be carried out on the last day of the AEM meeting on August 22.

In the second amendment protocol, there are also several updates regarding business competition provisions, customs procedures, trade in goods, services, investment, and e-commerce that are more facilitative as compared to the previous protocol in AANZFTA.

Kurniasari remarked that the second AANZFTA amendment protocol will be able to better meet the needs of adjustments according to the current global economic trends.

In addition to the signing of the second AANZFTA amendment protocol in the AEM, Indonesia will also carry out several agendas, including the launch of the newest ASEAN Tariff Search portal, the signing of a memorandum of understanding on expansion of cooperation in special areas, and the launch of registration of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and several other main agendas.

There were also side events involving Indonesian small and medium business units (SMEs), such as the SME Workshop series, launch of the ASEAN online shopping day, and launch of the AEM Exhibition attended by the SMEs.

The 55th AEM Meeting in Semarang was attended by over 500 delegations from 10 ASEAN countries, observer country Timor-Leste, and ASEAN partner countries, such as China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada, the US, the European Union, England, and Russia.

The 55th AEM meeting, with the agenda of 19 meetings, is also a continuation of the retreat meeting in March 2023 in Magelang, Central Java, which was attended by ASEAN economic ministers.

The difference is that in the 55th AEM, economic ministers from ASEAN dialogue partner countries will also attend.

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