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Updated December 16th, 2023 at 19:35 IST

Indonesia, Japan agree on removing more trade hurdles

The announcement follows a bilateral meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a Tokyo summit.

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Indonesia and Japan have successfully concluded negotiations aimed at removing trade barriers and enhancing their economic partnership. According to a statement by Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, Japan has agreed to grant greater market access to Indonesian products, particularly by eliminating tariffs on processed fishery items. The two nations are also set to improve cooperation in the banking sector.

The negotiations, which build upon the existing Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA) first established in 2007, are expected to result in a revised agreement. Both parties anticipate the amended IJEPA to come into effect by the first quarter of 2024, pending formal signing and ratification by their respective parliaments following legal reviews.

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The announcement follows a bilateral meeting between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during a Tokyo summit commemorating 50 years of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the negotiations, Indonesia sought the removal of tariffs on its canned tuna exports, a move that aligns with its efforts to strengthen its position in the global electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain by securing an agreement on critical minerals. President Widodo stressed on significance of this agreement during his meeting with Prime Minister Kishida.

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As part of Japan's commitment to supporting Indonesia's maritime capabilities, a 9 billion yen ($63 million) patrol vessel has been provided to Indonesia's coastguard. This contribution aims to enhance Indonesia's maritime capacity.

In a related development, Japan and Malaysia signed a security assistance deal, including a grant of 400 million yen, to bolster Malaysia's maritime security. This move reflects a broader regional trend as Asian nations seek to address concerns related to China's increasing assertiveness.

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President Widodo and Prime Minister Kishida also discussed international issues, including the conflict in Gaza. President Widodo reiterated Indonesia's support for a permanent ceasefire and sustainable humanitarian aid in the region.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Published December 16th, 2023 at 19:35 IST

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