President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for assistance in easing the negotiations in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between Indonesia and the European Union (EU).
“We will start the negotiations next year and the president hopes for it to be flexible, as there is no point in negotiating when both parties are being persistent,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said while explaining the results of President Widodos meeting with Rutte on the State Palace grounds in Jakarta, Wednesday.
The meeting between two state leaders was very concrete and focused on the economic sector, the minister believed.
“There were a number of issues in the economic sector discussed by the president and prime minister, primarily around the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between Indonesia and the European Union. For that reason, the president has asked the Netherlands to help smoothen the process of negotiations, as he ensures that the result of the discussion will be beneficial for the people in both, Indonesia and the European Union,” she reiterated.
When it comes to the EUs request for zero taxes on trade, Marsudi said the decision will be clear after the negotiations.
“That is where the challenge lies and we will surely have a discussion around it,” she remarked.
The amount of tariff offered by Indonesia has already been written in the scoping paper.
She did not remember the exact number by heart and pointed out that it was under the authorities of the Trade Ministry and Indonesias Investment Service Agency (BKPM).
“Minister Enggar (Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade) and Mr. Tom (Thomas Lembong, Head of Indonesian Investment Service Agency) are the ones more involved with the exact number we offer, but it is already noted in the scoping paper,” she said.
The foreign minister mentioned another issue discussed by both state leaders which is wood export licensing from Indonesia to Europe.
“This issue is just as important, as November is the month for us to launch the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license. As the president has said, the license will allow Indonesian wood products to enter the European Union without any inspections,” she said.
The license will also give a stamp of approval, indicating the high quality possessed by Indonesian wood products compared to ones from other countries, she further explained.
“I will go to Brussels, Belgium next week for the joint launch of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade,” she revealed.
Retno Marsudi also said that trade, investment and tourism cooperation between Indonesia and the Netherlands are placed in the 1st to 3rd places in the rank for the entire Europe.
“The president and prime minister also talked about possible cooperation including the expansion of Kuala Tanjung harbor in North Sumatra,” she added.
For the maritime sector, she continued, there was a discussion around the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing as well as certification.
“When it comes to our relationship with the Netherlands, we have an intensive cooperation in the economy sector, covering a lot of fields including trade, investment, tourism, maritime, fisheries, forestry, climate change and water management,” she concluded.