Friday, December 8, 2023

Indonesia Wants Japan to Conclude Revised IJEPA Talks

Jayanty Nada Shofa
March 7, 2023 | 8:38 am
A photo illustration of tuna. (Antara Photo)
A photo illustration of tuna. (Antara Photo)

Jakarta. Indonesia is eyeing closer economic ties with Japan, as it called for the latter to conclude the negotiations on the revised bilateral trade deal IJEPA.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi on Monday attended the 8th Indonesia-Japan Ministerial Level Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo. At the forum, Retno brought up the amended Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA).

"Both countries need to immediately settle the protocol amendments to the IJEPA. This is to address the trade hurdles, and expand the access for the leading products of the two countries," Retno said in a virtual press briefing on Monday night.

Indonesia, which is the world’s largest tuna producer, has been seeking the revised IJEPA to expand the market access of its fisheries products. “I stress the importance of Japan’s flexibility, particularly on the elimination of tariffs for Indonesian canned tunas,” Retno said.


According to the senior diplomat, Japan should also be flexible in the talks related to the development of skilled workers in the tourism and industry sectors. As well as the relaxation of product-specific provisions for coffee and sorbitol or sugar substitutes.

“I encourage the expansion of Indonesia’s tropical fruit export commodities,” Retno told reporters.

Government data showed that Indonesia-Japan’s trade topped pre-pandemic levels in 2022, reaching $42 billion. Two-way trade totaled around $31.7 billion in 2019.

Japan is Indonesia's third-largest trading partner. 

The IJEPA has been in force since July 2008. In 2019, the two countries concluded a general review of the trade deal. The protocol amendments are a follow-up to the general review. 

Indonesian state officials in the past had always raised the issue of the pending IJEPA protocol amendments during bilateral meetups with Japan. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also talked of IJEPA when meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Bali last November.

“Our economic partnership is already doing quite well. But it could be even better if we can conclude the IJEPA [talks] soon,” Jokowi said.

According to the Fisheries Ministry, Indonesia accounts for 15 percent of the global production of tuna, skipjack, and mackerel tuna. Despite being the world’s largest tuna producer, Indonesia’s exports of fish still fall behind other countries. ITC data showed Indonesia ranked sixth in global tuna exports with a market share of 5.33 percent in 2020.

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