January 25, 2006
Japan, Indonesia agree to accelerate FTA negotiations
(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) TOKYO, Jan. 25 (Kyodo) - Japan and Indonesia agreed Wednesday to accelerate ongoing bilateral talks aimed at sealing a free trade accord, with the goal of striking a basic accord by mid-2006 at earliest, a Japanese official said.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai and visiting Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Yusuf Kalla agreed that the two countries should reach the framework accord by the end of the year at the latest, according to the official.
The two countries, which began official FTA negotiations last July, aim to conclude the talks in less than two years. The third round of such talks is scheduled to be held in February, he said.
During the meeting with Kalla, Nikai also requested that Jakarta improve its investment climate such as infrastructure, tax and labor systems to lure more Japanese businesses, the official said.
On energy, Nikai asked that Indonesia smoothly extend supply contracts of resources such as liquefied natural gas and coal to Japan. The Southeast Asian country is a major energy resource exporter to Japan.
Kalla said the country will deal with the issue by balancing domestic supply and exports, he said.