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Trade Ministry expects IK-CEPA ratification in July

The Jakarta Post - 24 June 2022

Trade Ministry expects IK-CEPA ratification in July

Noting “good” diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries, the Trade Ministry expects the House of Representatives (DPR) to ratify the Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA) next month.

According to a press briefing held by the ministry on Tuesday, the timeline shows July packed with events aimed at making the trade pact effective, starting with a high-level meeting of House Commission VI, which oversees industry, investment and business competition.

Then, a House plenary session is set to continue the discussion and ratify the treaty, which would be finally signed by the President and promulgated by the Law and Human Rights Ministry, all in the same month.

“God willing, this July will see this treaty ratified in the House plenary session, and the second semester of 2022 will see this treaty enter into force,” Ari Satria, secretary of the Trade Ministry’s International Trade Negotiations Directorate General, said in the briefing.

At the same event, Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga said the treaty would significantly increase bilateral trade by removing many tariffs on both sides.

The trade deal stipulates that Indonesia would remove 9,954, or 92 percent of all tariff codes, up 5 percent from what has been agreed under the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA), while South Korea would remove 11,687, 95.5 percent of total tariff codes, up 5.5 percent from AKFTA.

“We really hope for the support and cooperation of House Commission VI to accelerate the ratification of IK-CEPA, so that the agreement can be implemented according to the targets set and utilized by all levels of society, especially MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises],” Jerry told reporters.

Unlike a free-trade agreement, Indonesia pursues a CEPA-type agreement with South Korea, because the government sees potential for investment and trade services cooperation between the two countries that goes beyond mere trade.

As a result, the treaty stipulates that the two countries would open up more than 100 subsector services to allow foreign ownership of up to 100 percent.

To name a few, Indonesia would gain market access to tourism and financial services, while South Korea would gain access to construction and engineering services.

“We hope Indonesian [businesspeople] will also be able to take full advantage of this agreement. It would be a pity for the negotiators, who have struggled for years, if we did not use this treaty to its fullest potential,” Ari continued.

Indonesia-South Korea relations have been blossoming over the past few months, particularly with regard to trade and investment.

Trade Ministry data show that, in the first quarter of 2022, Indonesia booked a surplus of US$274 million in trade with South Korea, with $4.2 billion and $3.9 billion worth of exports and imports, respectively.

On a trip to an inspection of the Batang Integrated Industrial Estate on June 8, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made an announcement that should be music to the ears of a Korean automotive firm:

"Heading to the Batang Integrated Industrial Estate by driving a Genesis electric car from Hyundai. There was barely any sound. The Hyundai Genesis G80 electric car will be the official car for the G20 Summit in Bali in November," the President said on his Instagram account.

 source: The Jakarta Post