ASEAN has a big market, (namely) 600 million population...we are trying to focus on ASEAN first.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia is focusing on increasing trade, especially exports, with the ASEAN region, which has a market of more than 600 million people, Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan has said.

"ASEAN has a big market, (namely) 600 million population...we are trying to focus on ASEAN first," he noted after visiting Shopee's Export Warehouse here on Wednesday.

ASEAN has a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or free trade agreement that involves 10 member countries, he added.

"Later, our trade direction will be like the EU. Yes, it will be tariff-free; later, customs will use electronic (means), then later all data will be able to use digital (means)," he informed.

The minister said that ASEAN will unite in terms of trade. According to him, trade agreements are a fast route to stoking economic growth in countries in the region.

He said that one of the things that can encourage exports of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is the presence of digital marketplaces where buyers from various countries can see products through the storefronts of sellers.

Those digital marketplaces can open broader market access to sellers. They can allow MSMEs to market their products not only to buyers within the country, but also abroad.

"The market access is not only in West Java, not only in Solo. Thus, it can reach Malaysia, Thailand, and even the Middle East with the current e-commerce system," the minister said.

Earlier, on the sidelines of the 55th ASEAN Economic Ministers' (AEM) Meeting, Hasan signed four mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) aimed at harmonizing trade regulations between Southeast Asian countries to reduce obstacles to exports and imports.

One of the MRAs is the Protocol to Amend the ASEAN Sectoral Mutual Recognition Arrangement for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Inspection of Manufacturers of Medicinal Products.

The MRA serves as mutual recognition for manufacturing and medicinal products in ASEAN.

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Translator: Maria Cicilia, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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