Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Jokowi pushes for the swift conclusion of IEU-CEPA to boost economic growth

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President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has instructed his cabinet ministers to expedite the completion of the Indonesia-European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA) before the State leadership transition in October this year.

The goal is to have the agreement completed during the 19th meeting between Indonesia and the European Union, scheduled to take place in Jakarta in early July 2024.

Minister of Trade Zulkifli Hasan reported significant progress, stating that the IEU-CEPA is already 90 percent complete.

“This has been in the works for eight years, as directed by the president. We hope to finalize it between July 1-5,” Zulkifli said in Jakarta on Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

The IEU-CEPA aims to strengthen trade relations between Indonesia and the European Union. Vincent Piket, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, noted that the agreement could boost Indonesia’s GDP by 4.6 to 5.2 billion euros by 2032.

Zulkifli highlighted some of the EU’s requests, including the removal of import tariffs on dairy products and cheese exported to Indonesia. Conversely, Indonesia has proposed tariff exemptions for several commodities, such as crude palm oil (CPO), textiles, and iron and steel.

“We are willing to accept their products if they reciprocate,” Zulkifli said.

The negotiations for the IEU-CEPA, launched on July 18, 2016, have undergone 18 rounds, conducted both in person and virtually. The 17th round of negotiations took place in Bandung from February 26 to March 1, 2024, focusing on intellectual property rights.

The most recent, the 18th round of negotiations, held from May 13-17, 2024, in Brussels, Belgium, with the EU hosting. The Indonesian government remains optimistic about the agreement’s completion and its potential to enhance bilateral trade relations and economic growth.

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