Government eyes completion of RCEP, IK-CEPA, IT-ECA by 2019: minister

Jakarta Indonesia's government targeted completing negotiations on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA), and Indonesia-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (IT-ECA) by 2019-end, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita stated here, Wednesday.

Lukita expounded that the trade agreements were aimed at driving exports while transforming local businesses to become more competitive in the regional and global markets.

"We cannot increase exports and investments if our country has no trade agreements with other states. Hence, it is crucial for us to seek more collaborations in future," Lukita stated. Proposed since 2012, the RCEP aims to reduce import duties and promote investments, intellectual property rights, and technical cooperation among member countries comprising 10 ASEAN nations and its six trade partners: India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

The minister stated that this mega pact had yet to be completed, as all member nations are yet reviewing the agreement's rules and schemes.

"For this multilateral agreement, using the word shall and should will raise a debate among members," Lukita stated. "All terms and rules are still negotiable among members, so we cannot just ink the pact," he explained.

For IK-CEPA, Indonesia and South Korea will ink the pact at the 30th ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit in the latter nation.

Bilateral trade between both nations had expanded, from US$16.3 billion in 2017 to $18.6 billion in 2018.

In the meantime, the Indonesian government also planned to conclude negotiations on IT-ECA by the end of 2019. The minister noted that Taiwan may contribute to distributing several raw materials, including components, iron, steel, nickel, and different chemical products, to Indonesia.

Source: Antara News

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