Indonesia Told to Put in Extra Effort for CEPA Talks with EU
Jakarta. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has advised that Indonesia put in more effort to conclude its negotiations for its trade pact with the European Union due to the trading bloc’s sizable bureaucracy, according to Chief Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto.
Airlangga on Friday met with Blair in his office in Jakarta and both had talks on the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), to name a few. Indonesia and the EU have been discussing this trade deal since July 2016 and already went through 15 rounds of negotiations. Airlangga said that Blair had given Indonesia some advice on how it can reach an agreement with the EU by the target date.
“Based on [his] experience with the EU, Tony Blair said [the Indonesia-EU CEPA negotiations] would call for a huge political push because there is an extensive bureaucracy in the EU. So even [Blair], who comes from the UK himself, feels that there is a huge bureaucracy,” Airlangga told reporters after the meeting with Blair.
“So Indonesia must put in extra effort to conclude the Indonesia-EU CEPA [negotiations] by end-2023 as what we have targeted,” Airlangga said.
According to the Trade Ministry, Indonesia and the EU last week concluded the 15th round of talks in Yogyakarta during which both parties agreed on the economic cooperation and capacity-building chapter. This made it the 7th chapter that Indonesia-EU had concluded. Both parties also discussed issues related to anti-fraud clauses and technical barriers to trade, among others.
The government reported that Indonesia-EU trade reached $32.88 billion last year, up by 14 percent from 2021 numbers. Indonesia’s exports to the EU amounted to $21.4 billion.
The 16th round of negotiations is slated for the end of 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.
The UK withdrew from the EU in 2020. The UK had previously voted to leave the European bloc in 2016.