JAKARTA- Indonesian and South Korea took a key step on Wednesday towards a bilateral agreement that is expected to help boost trade between the two nations by about 50 percent by 2022.
Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and his South Korean counterpart Yoo Myung-Hee signed a document marking the conclusion of talks in Jakarta toward the economic partnership.
The countries will move forward with “legal scrubbing” and translation before the official signing of the Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IKCEPA), Lukita told a joint news conference, without specifying a timeline.
Jakarta had been aiming to seal the deal by November, when South Korea will host a summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Indonesian officials have said.
“The global economy has been facing rising uncertainty from the rising tide of protectionism in the last few years,” Yoo said, after the meeting on the sidelines of a trade expo.
“Korea, as one of the largest beneficiaries of free trade, and Indonesia, as leader of Asean, are signaling to the world our true support for free, open and rules-based trade in this very challenging time,” she said.
Yoo also said the partnership could boost two-way trade to more than $30 billion by 2022 with the removal of “many tariff barriers” and both South Korean and Indonesian companies would welcome improved market access.
The ministers did not disclose further details and took no questions from the media.
Jakarta exported $9.5 billion worth of goods to South Korea last year and imported $9.1 billion, according to Indonesian government data. Its main exports included coal, copper, rubber, plywood and tin, while it buys synthetic rubber, flat steel products, electronic circuits and yarn, among other goods, from South Korea.
Talks on the bilateral trade and investment deal restarted after stalling in 2014 when Indonesian President Joko Widodo met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul in September 2018. – Reuters