Swiss Ambassador: Free Trade with Indonesia Profitable

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Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Swiss Ambassador to Indonesia, Kurt Kunz, is convinced that free trade cooperation will strengthen between the two nations. He believes that trade opportunities to Switzerland will benefit Indonesia.

    "Amid the trade war between America and China, Indonesia's trade opportunities to Switzerland will be profiting for Indonesia," Mr. Kunz said in a release Tempo received on February 5.

    Speaking at a gathering for the Indonesia-European Free Trade Association Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (IE-CEPA) in Medan, Wednesday, the ambassador said that IE-CEPA applies between Indonesia and four member nations of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)—consisting of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway. The agreement, he said, will be beneficial for each country.

    Indonesia has mainstay sectors that Switzerland needs, such as palm oil, fish, gold, footwear, coffee, toys, textiles, furniture, electrical equipment, machinery, bicycles and tires.

    Ambassador Kunz said that Switzerland would exempt taxes for palm oil products for animal feed, technical purposes and re-exports.

    Meanwhile, the Indonesian Trade Ministry's head of trade research and development agency, Kasan, said that the IE-CEPA ratification should be completed by Indonesia by April 2020, so that a tariff on trading services can be determined.

    "The ratification [process] should not take too long. From 2015 to 2017, for example, Indonesia's jewelry trade to Switzerland soared dramatically. But 2018 and 2019, it plunged after Malaysia and Pakistan took over because they completed their bilateral agreement with Switzerland before we did," Kasan said.

    Sahat Simatupang (Contributor)