Indonesia, Japan agree to hold free trade talks every 2 months
JAKARTA, July 15. KAZINFORM. - Indonesia and Japan ended the first round of negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement Friday, aimed at establishing a new partnership, and agreed to hold the talks every two months, Kazinform cites Kyodo.
The two-day talks in Jakarta on the Japan-Indonesia Economic Partnership Agreement followed a bilateral agreement between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Tokyo last month.
’’We agreed to have meetings at least every two months,’’ a Japanese official told Japanese media, adding the second meeting will take place early October with an interim meeting to be held in August or September.
According to the Japanese official, Deputy Japanese Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka met with Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu on the sidelines of the meeting during which they agreed to proceed with the negotiations ’’speedily.
’’ No time frame, however, was discussed, the official said.
Yabunaka led the Japanese delegation, while former Ambassador to Japan Soemadi Brotodiningrat, who is now ambassador for the United States, headed the Indonesian delegation.
In the June 2 meeting, Koizumi and Yudhoyono agreed that the two countries would conclude the FTA talks ’’within a reasonable period of time.
’’ Herry Sutanto, director general for international trade at the Trade Ministry, has said earlier, however, that the negotiations are expected to last for two years but might be speeded up to 18 months.
During the first negotiations, the Japanese official said that six working sessions took place, discussing trade in goods and services, investment policy, movement of people, intellectual property rights and bilateral cooperation.
’’We have not exchanged any formal lists of requests and offers, but it seems it was a good start, maybe because of an eagerness for inviting more investments from the Indonesian side and an accumulated experience of our side through similar talks with the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand,’’ the official said.
On Wednesday, Pangestu said that in the agricultural sector, Indonesia has asked Japan to recognize the country as being free of foot-and-mouth disease, so that in the future, Indonesia may export meat and dairy products to Japan.
Indonesia is also seeking Japan’s support to strengthen its local tuna fisheries management, as well as to combat illegal fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
Japan, meanwhile, has requested Indonesia to explain its investment regulations and reduce or eliminate tariffs on vehicles and automobile parts, Pangestu said.