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Indonesia unprepared for Asia-Pacific free trade

Tempo | 15 November, 2010

Indonesia Unprepared for Asia-Pacific Free Trade

TEMPO Interactive, Tokyo: Indonesia is still considering participating in the Asia-Pacific free trade agreement. “We think we are not ready yet because the agreement is very hard for the local industry,” Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference (APEC) in Yokohama, Japan, with Vice President Boediono yesterday.

Also attending the event were Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo, Industry Minister Muhammad Sulaiman Hidayat, and National Development Planning Minister Armida Alisjahbana.

Mari said it was not easy to join the free trade market. “The requirements are hard and there are many environmental issues. Indonesia is currently focusing on the Doha Round agreement and regional trade. Later, we will evaluate the Trans-Pacific partnership.”

The Doha Round is a WTO (World Trade Organization) agreement agreed in 2001, concerning tariff reduction in the agriculture sector and trade liberalizations in the service industry. Indonesia hopes the agreement made nine years ago can first be implemented before participating in other free trade agreements.

In addition, Indonesia wants APEC to optimize cooperation in East Asia and within ASEAN. According to Mari, the regional cooperation can be achieved in many ways to realize regional economic integration.

Some countries wanting the Asia-Pacific free trade market include the US, Australia, Peru, Malaysia, and Vietnam. However, many countries failed to respond to the proposal. “Japan also mentioned it, but they are still looking at their domestic condition,” Mari said.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa admitted that on the second day of the APEC meeting, not many heads of state mentioned this issue. “The Doha Round agreement should be implemented first, to maintain the focus,” Hatta said.

Vice President Boediono said the discussion of APEC country leaders covered multilateral trade system, analysis, and evaluation of APEC achievements of the Bogor Goals in 1994.

The Bogor Goals, Boediono said, is still relevant to improve cooperation and regional economic integration, APEC’s future, and the development strategies following the global economic crisis. The Bogor Goals contains the timeframe for the trade liberalization and investments, namely 2010 for advanced economies and 2020 for developing economies.

This APEC meeting, said Boediono, has produced four pillars. The first is the Yokohama Vision, Bogor and Beyond; the second, the Leaders Statement on 2010 Bogor Goals Assessment, which is the evaluation of the Bogor Goals implementation until this year; third, the signing of the document of APEC leaders’ mission on the recovery from the financial crisis; and fourth, the Asia-Pacific free trade framework.

“The important aspect of this meeting is the evaluation results of the Bogor Goals in 2010,” said Boediono. “Additionally, this includes the framework and action plan for the improvement on the supply of goods and connectivity among APEC members, the future of APEC, and the regional economy integration plan.”


 source: Tempo