Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto met with ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn during the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting, held in Paris on May 2-3.

During the meeting, Hartarto expressed Indonesia's intention to explore free trade negotiations between the ASEAN region and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

"Indonesia-United Arab Emirates (UAE) Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) can be a benchmark for ASEAN in realizing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two regions," Hartarto noted in the ministry's statement here on Friday.

Meanwhile, ASEAN Secretary General Kao Kim Hourn expressed hope for Indonesia's support to bridge the trade cooperation.

Kao also welcomed Indonesia's progress in the OECD accession process and congratulated Indonesia's achievement in receiving the OECD accession roadmap.

"This success is also felt by all ASEAN members. We hope that other ASEAN countries will also follow Indonesia's step in order to increase the representation and interests of ASEAN countries in the OECD," he remarked.

The two also discussed about development of the regional digitalization initiative, where ASEAN has been conducting negotiations on the Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA), which is projected to increase the region's digital economy to US$2 trillion by 2030.

The start of the ASEAN DEFA negotiation in 2023 was one of the economic priorities pushed by Indonesia during its ASEAN Chairmanship last year. The negotiation series is targeted to be completed in 2025.

During the meeting, Minister Hartarto also encouraged strengthening collaboration between ASEAN and the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Programme (SEARP).

He expected that the collaboration would serve as a platform for sharing experiences and best practices in regulatory and policy issues to encourage economic growth in the region.

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Translator: Bayu S, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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