The Jakarta Post - 13 September 2019
RI looks to bolster ties with S. Korea, US through comprehensive trade agreements
By Rizki Fachriansyah
The government looks to hike trade with South Korea and the United States as it aims to complete a long-gestating trade agreement with the former and discuss a closer partnership with the latter.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has proposed to wrap up negotiations for the Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA) as soon as October.
He conveyed his expectation to reach an agreement with South Korea during a bilateral meeting with South Korean Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoo Myung-hee in Bangkok on Monday.
“We suggest that we announce our agreement on the sidelines of the Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI), which will take place from Oct. 16 to 20. Then we’ll proceed to sign the IK-CEPA during the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit taking place from Nov. 25 to 27,” he said in a press statement.
Enggartiasto said he expected the IK-CEPA to entail investment plans of two leading South Korean companies, Lotte Group and Hyundai, among other things.
“The two companies don’t need to worry, because the Indonesian government pays attention to their investment continuity,” he added.
Trade between Indonesia and South Korea reached US$18.62 billion in 2018. Indonesia exported $9.54 billion worth of goods to South Korea, while imports reached $9.08 billion, generating a surplus of $443.6 million.
Indonesia mostly exported coal, copper and crude oil to South Korea in the year and imported gasoline and diesel fuel as well as electronic circuits.
Previously, the Trade Ministry had announced its aim to complete negotiations for IK-CEPA this year to boost bilateral trade and overall economic relations after resuming negotiations in 2018 following the two countries’ failure to reach an agreement in 2014.
Enggartiasto also met up on Monday with the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) to discuss the accomplishments of the 20-year-old cooperation, particularly with regard to Indonesia’s integration into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The meeting was also attended by representatives of leading American companies, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Philip Morris, FedEx and Ford.
“Indonesia has to try and enlist support from developed countries to strike partnerships with fellow developing countries in establishing a roadmap for industrial revitalization,” Enggartiasto said.
Bilateral trade between Indonesia and the US reached US$28.6 billion in 2018. Indonesia exported $18.43 billion worth of goods to the world’s largest economy, while imports reached $10.18 billion, generating a surplus of $8.25 billion for Indonesia.
The country mostly exported shrimps, rubber and clothing to the US in 2018. In the same year, Indonesia primarily imported soy, cotton, flour, wheat as well as aircraft and spacecraft parts from the US.