Tempo - 30 September 2022
Jokowi ratifies largest regional trade agreement
By Fajar Pebrianto
Indonesian President Joko Widodo or Jokowi, officially ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional free trade agreement involving 10 ASEAN countries and five partner countries, which are Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, and South Korea.
"To support the economic development program and drive the acceleration of national economic recovery," according to the consideration section of Law No. 24 of 2022 concerning Ratification of RCEP signed by the President on September 27, 2022.
The Law contains the complete RCEP agreement, which regulates tariffs on export import of goods, and export subsidy for agricultural products, among others.
The idea for the RCEP was forwarded during Indonesia’s leadership of ASEAN back in 2011. The agreement is aimed at consolidating five free trade agreements made by ASEAN and six partner countries. The RCEP concept was then agreed on by ASEAN member countries by the end of 2011 in Bali, Indonesia.
Coordinating Minister for Econommic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, stated that RCEP is the largest trading block agreement in the world. The aggrement covers 30 percent of the world’s GDP, 27 percent of the world’s trade, 29 percent of the world’s direct investment, and 29 percent of the world’s population.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated that the implementation of the RCEP requires high level of political commitment.
"The President said that the signing is only the beginning. A long and steep road ahead may be coming, which is how we can implement [the RCEP] and this requires the highest level of political commitment," said Retno in a virtual press conference on Sunday, November 15, 2020.