RI, EU begin negotiations on comprehensive economic partnership

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 06/15/2011

Indonesia and the European Union (EU) held the first of a series of negotiations toward a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during an event in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The event was organized to facilitate the presentation of recommendations from the Indonesia-EU Vision Group, which was established in December 2009 by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, to "invigorate the Indonesia-EU partnership", especially in the trade and investment sectors.

During the Wednesday event, these recommendations were officially handed over to Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu.

Also during the event, Vision Group co-chairman Djisman Simanjuntak said that while Indonesia and the EU were in "good and healthy relations, the status quo is unsatisfactory".

"We need a new initiative to invigorate the relations, in the pursuit of growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. So it's not only about trade but also for job creation ... for both Indonesia and the EU," Djisman said.

Mari said that over the next few months Indonesia and the EU would be engaged in intensive consultations regarding the CEPA, comprising the governments and the private sectors of both parties.

Djisman added that he hoped the negotiations would be completed within two years.

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