The Jakarta Post | 26 January 2016
Indonesia to speed up EU CEPA negotiation
by Ayomi Amindoni
Indonesia will speed up negotiations on the Indonesia-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), aiming to have an agreement with the EU come into effect within two years.
The two parties had discussed the implementation of the CEPA in a meeting with EU trade ministers during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos last week, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said.
"It has been decided in a Cabinet meeting that we will have a trade agreement with the EU. We must start it immediately because the President gave us two years to complete the agreement," Thomas said in Jakarta on Tuesday.
In contrast to the discussion of trade agreements in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP), which still required time for assessment to solve the challenges, Thomas underlined that there were no special constraints on the Indonesia-EU CEPA discussion.
The planned Indonesia-EU CEPA has been stagnant since 2012. Vietnam, which started free trade agreement negotiations with the 28-member trading bloc in the same year reached an agreement in August last year.
The EU CEPA covers issues of trade and business, including the reduction of trade barriers and liberalization of government procurement. The two points are also included in the TPP framework.
Aside from the two agreements, Thomas continued, the ministry also held meetings with trade ministers from several countries to discuss bilateral trade agreements.
"We are exploring bilateral trade agreements with Australia. Also with the EFTA [European Free Trade Association] which consists of Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein," Thomas said.