Antara News - 14 August 2020
RCEP talks entering final stage: Deputy Trade Minister
Negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have entered the final stage of legal scrubbing and are set to be signed soon, with the exclusion of India, Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga said.
“The RCEP negotiation process has entered its final stage for a review of its legal basis. The government would (like to) assure this stage would not change the substance of the Indonesian interest. We continue to work hard to ensure that the agreement accommodates (our) national interest,” Sambuaga said in a statement here on Friday.
All trade agreements must bring benefits for Indonesia in terms of tariff, non-tariff barriers, and the development of capability and capacity of domestic business operators, he noted.
“With the finalization of the negotiation process in trade, economy, and investment, including the RCEP, we have a wider market access and it will support Indonesia’s competitiveness,” he said.
However, Sambuaga added, this must be followed by development of product quality, branding, logistics systems, payment systems so local products could penetrate the global market.
The Trade Ministry’s negotiation team will collaborate with other ministries and related institutions, and familiarize all stakeholders with the terms of the agreement.
“The government is focusing on the establishment of a business climate and facility, but of course, the key is in business operators. We believe that the Indonesian economy can revive and grow stronger if business operators can improve their competitiveness,” he said.
The government has launched various program to facilitate trade, especially for export. It has conducted trainings on branding, product design, export and import, exhibition, and business matching.
Regarding India’s exclusion in the partnership, Sambuaga said the country’s decision is related to some sensitive issues linked to other countries, especially China.
However, ASEAN and other countries involved in RCEP have opened the option for India’s involvement in the future, considering its important role in economy, politics, as well as Asian solidarity, he added.