Indonesia’s Trade in Goods Tackled in RCEP Focus Group Discussion
Jakarta, 22 April 2022: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is the biggest trading bloc that focuses on creating a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial trade agreement to tackle new issues and the development disparity between its members. Its members include the ASEAN Member States, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Indonesia is close to ratifying RCEP and is expected to implement it in the first semester of 2022.
Dr Lili Yan Ing, ERIA’s lead advisor on Southeast Asia and one of the presenters at an online focus group discussion on RCEP, presented a general idea of how to optimise RCEP for Indonesia’s trade in goods. Addressing participants from Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Ing emphasised three main issues in trade in goods: tariff reduction that will be enjoyed by economic actors; the ever-increasing non-tariff measures (NTMs); and the existence of rules of origin (RoO), which determine the degree of preferential treatment.
Furthermore, Dr. Lili suggested that Indonesia must interact with businesses on procedures and how to benefit from the agreement. Clear information, she added, will help businesses navigate their way around regulations such as tariffs, NTMs, and RoOs. The lead advisor also said that Indonesia must remain neutral in engaging the US, China, and middle powers. Lastly, with the rapid growth of digital trade, she advised that the Government of Indonesia must improve the hard and soft skills of its human resources as digital information is centred around people.