Indonesia, EU seek possibility of free trade agreement
JAKARTA, July 24 (Xinhua) — Indonesia and the European Union ( EU) are set to negotiate over a plan to engage in free trade between the two sides, according to Indonesian officials Friday.
"There is a plan of initial meeting between senior officials from industry ministry and trade ministry, and officials from the European Union in September," Achmad Sigit Dwiwahjono, director general for security and international access development of the industry ministry said at his office.
Indonesia expects a free trade agreement between the two sides to facilitate opening and securing market access for the country’s certain export commodities in Europe, he said.
Europe is one of Indonesia’s biggest markets for crude palm oil, but the import tariff for the Indonesia’s export commodity remains as high as 7 percent, according to the director general.
Europe is also a big market for Indonesia’s textile and its derivative products.
Indonesia’s other main export commodities to Europe are rubber, coffee and fishery products.
Nevertheless, Sigit said Indonesia also needs to consider the benefit and disadvantages of the free trade deal.
Indonesian farmer association has rejected the idea of free trade with Europe on concerns that many Indonesia’s products at domestic markets could not compete with those from the group.