Indonesia has wrapped up negotiations for a free trade and investment pact with members of the four-nation European Free Trade Association or EFTA, and a final agreement is due to be signed in December, Indonesia’s trade minister said.
Negotiations on the Comprehensive Indonesia-European Free Trade Association Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IE-CEPA) between Indonesia and EFTA members – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland – have taken seven years.
EFTA’s global network of preferential trade agreements outside the EU now consists of 28 agreements with 39 partners. Six joint declarations of cooperation (JOINT STATEMENTs) complement this network. Over 12 percent of EFTA’s total exports go to these trade partners and they are the source of 7.5 percent of EFTA imports. In 2017, EFTA’s global trade accounted for USD 766 billion, 43.5% of which was with countries outside the EU.
“This settlement is a milestone for Indonesia’s relations with the four EFTA countries,” trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in a statement released after Friday’s signing in Geneva.
Indonesia will get better access to export products such as coffee, palm oil, fisheries, textile and furniture, the statement said.
Economic relations between the EFTA States and Indonesia
Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Indonesia amounted to USD 2.3 billion in 2017. The EFTA States exported goods worth USD 597 million, with the leading exports being machinery and mechanical appliances, pharmaceutical products and mineral fuels. EFTA imported goods worth USD 1.7 billion in 2017, with gold as the most significant import, followed by footwear and electrical machinery.
The next step is for “legal scrubbing” and translation so the agreement is ready to be signed in Jakarta in December, the statement said.
he EFTA-Indonesia Joint Statement was signed by Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Iceland, Ms Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture of Liechtenstein, and Mr Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, Minister of Trade and Industry of Norway, as well as by Mr Enggartiasto Lukita, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia.
Negotiations towards a CEPA were launched in July 2010, with the first round held early 2011 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since then, 15 rounds of negotiations and a number of Heads of delegation and experts’ meetings have been held.
“There is a saying in German: “Gut Ding will Weile haben”, which means “Good things need time”. I am personally convinced, that the CEPA is not only a good, but an excellent thing, a real landmark in the relations between our countries. And so it is perfectly fine, that the process took some time,” said Johann N. Schneider-Ammann who chaired the EFTA Ministerial on 23 November.
In 2017, Indonesia-EFTA trade was worth $2.4 billion, with Indonesia having a trade surplus of $212 million.