TEMPO.CO, Jakarta-Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong expressed optimism that Indonesia-European Union trade negotiations would be kicked off soon. Lembong believes that the implementation of the economic cooperation would realize government’s nine-priority agenda in a bid to increase people’s productivity and competitiveness in the international market.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been scheduled to launch the negotiation during his working visit to Brussels, Belgium in late April 2016. Earlier, Lembong with Industry Minister Saleh Husin met with the European Commission to discuss the scoping paper of the IEU CEPA in Brussels on April 4 and 5, 2016.
The agreement on the scoping paper will be used as an aspirational basis to move to the IEU CEPA negotiation.
“We agreed to speed up the finalization by arranging a more intensive communication at the higher level, so that the negotiation can be started during President Jokowi’s visit to Brussels in late April 2016,” Lembong said in a press release on Thursday, April 7, 2016.
Lembong added that Indonesia’s role in the global and regional supply chain must be improved due to tightening competition among countries.
Data from the Statistics Indonesia (BPS) over the last five years shows that the Indonesia-EU trade dropped by 5.4 percent per year, resulting in a decrease in Indonesia’s trade balance surplus by 14.5 percent per year. In 2016, Indonesia’s trade balance surplus with the EU stood at US$3.5 billion, down by 16.7 percent compared to previous year’s US$4.2 billion.
In terms of foreign investment, EU’s investment realization in Indonesia showed a decreasing trend. In 2014, the figure stood at US$3.8 billion and continued to drop at US$2.3 billion in 2015.