The Indonesian government is set to roll out another policy package later this month that will reduce dwelling time duration at ports as part of the government's efforts to improve logistics, attract much-needed investment which, in turn, will propel the economy. (Antara Photo/Sigid Kurniawan)

Three Free-Trade Deals to Conclude by Next Year: Trade Ministry

BY :VANESHA MANUTURI

SEPTEMBER 17, 2015

Jakarta. The Trade Ministry is preparing to close three free-trade agreements by next year, which are expected to increase Indonesia's role in global trade, according to a high-level government official.

An agreement with South Korea resumed in April after President Joko Widodo appealed to improve Indonesia's export growth.

"There are only a few things left in the agreements. We just need some more guidelines, and then we can close," Bachrul Chieri, the director general of international trade cooperation at the Trade Ministry, said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, discussions for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would create one of the world's largest free-trade zones between 10-member Asean and its major trading partners such as Japan, China and Australia, will likely extend until the middle of next year, according to Bachrul.

"It's undoubtedly clear that these FTAs will greatly benefit our export activities in the future," Bachrul said, adding the RCEP would cover 40 percent of annual global trade.

A Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEPA) that will bridge trade between Indonesia and member countries of the European Free Trade Association is also set to be complete by next year and is estimated to increase the nation's export by up to $7 billion, he said.

Indonesia's exports in the January-to-August period went down by 13 percent to $102.52 billion compared to the same period last year, while imports declined 19 percent to $96.3 billion, according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

The government has started talks on the FTAs since 2012, but most have been delayed due to disagreements over tariff reductions, limitations on foreign ownership, and service liberalization.

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