Jakarta – Indonesia’s Trade Ministry is optimistic about the country’s foreign trade outlook, expecting to outpace Vietnam following the finalization of the Indonesia-European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IEU-CEPA).

Kasan, the chief of the ministry’s Trade Policy Agency, emphasized,

“Our market access to the European Union, once the agreement has been completed and implemented, will yield greater benefits than what Vietnam currently enjoys.”

This statement was made on Wednesday during a press briefing. Indonesia finds itself trailing behind Vietnam, which has an existing trade agreement with the European Union, granting them a competitive edge in European markets.

Noting the trade figures, Kasan highlighted that Indonesia’s trade volume with the European Union stood at US$46 billion in 2022, considerably lower than Vietnam’s US$94 billion following the implementation of their agreement.

Kasan expressed confidence that Indonesia would finalize the IEU-CEPA this year, positioning itself to bridge the trade gap with Vietnam in the European market.

He emphasized the pivotal role of the IEU-CEPA in facilitating increased access for Indonesian exports. Once Indonesia can successfully export its goods to the EU, gaining entry into other markets becomes more seamless.

“Considering our market access to the European Union, which surpasses Vietnam’s, Indonesia, with its larger economy, anticipates reaping greater benefits,” remarked Kasan.

The IEU-CEPA negotiation has entered its 17th round, with discussions encompassing 12 key aspects of bilateral trade. These discussions include trade in goods and services, investment, and collaboration in sustainable food systems, sustainable trade, and development.

Among the topics under deliberation are provisions on goods origins, energy and raw materials, trade technical obstacles, subsidies, intellectual property, institutional conditions, provisions on the institutional aspect, and anti-fraud clauses.

Significant progress has been achieved in areas such as cooperation for a sustainable food system, addressing trade barriers, and addressing institutional conditions.

The negotiation is set to continue throughout the year with an expected conclusion by the end of 2024.