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Japan, Indonesia to launch FTA talks soon

(Asia Pulse/Nikkei)

Apr 14, 2005

Japan, Indonesia to launch FTA talks soon

TOKYO - The Japanese and Indonesian governments have agreed to enter bilateral negotiations in the near future toward reaching a free trade agreement in about one year.

An FTA research panel consisting of Japanese and Indonesian officials met for a two-day meeting through Tuesday.

Among the areas that will be discussed in the upcoming FTA talks include agricultural and industrial products as well as the movement of people.

With Indonesia a major supplier to Japan of energy resources such as natural gas, these areas are also expected to be included in an FTA.

Japanese and Indonesian representatives will be poised to discuss structures to ensure stable energy supplies to Japan in the event of emergencies.

Easing of foreign capital regulations in Indonesia may also be considered as part of efforts to encourage more investment there by Japanese companies.

Japan was to begin negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday. But it plans to pursue bilateral discussions with Indonesia because the overall FTA talks with ASEAN do not delve into specific duties imposed on individual industrial products.

By deepening economic ties with Indonesia, which comprises about 30% of ASEAN’s overall gross domestic product, Japan hopes to spearhead the creation of an East Asian cooperative entity.

 source: Asia Times