The Jakarta Post
A number of countries have thrown their support behind the agenda Indonesia wants to achieve during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali later this year.
They also gave a positive response to the announcement of the nomination of Indonesia’s former trade minister, Mari Elka Pangestu, as the new head of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said senior officials from many APEC members had expressed support during a business luncheon hosted by the Indonesian delegation on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) gathering in Davos, Switzerland on Friday.
Gita said on Saturday that APEC members did not only support the summit’s main agenda — the improvement of connectivity between member countries, the implementation of growth with equity and the enhancement of the Bogor free trade agreement — they also supported Indonesia’s plan to further expand the list of environmental goods that receive tariff reductions of up to 5 percent.
At the Bali summit, Indonesia is to propose the inclusion of crude palm oil (CPO) and rubber on the list so that the country’s two main commodities could take the advantage of the tariff cut, he said.
Gita acknowledged that representatives from some developed countries attending the business luncheon opposed the expansion of the list before member countries were able to fully implement the green good deal, achieved during the summit meeting in Russia in September last year.
“But many support Indonesia’s proposals, although a decision has not yet been formally approved,” he said.
Gita said as the host of the APEC summit, Indonesia deserved support from other members regarding the inclusion of its two main commodities on to the list of the green goods.
“The list covers as many as 54 products. However, Indonesia has nothing,” he added.
During the meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, APEC’s trade ministers agreed on 54 green products that would have tariffs slashed to five percent or less by 2015, including wind turbine blades and solar batteries.
During the meeting, Indonesia proposed the inclusion of CPO but it was rejected on the grounds that the country’s CPO production is not conducted through a sustainable approach.
The APEC summit will be held in Bali in October this year, 19 years after the first summit was held in Bogor, West Java. The theme of this year’s gathering will be “Towards Resilience and Growth: Reshaping Priorities for Global Economy”.
Gita, who led the Indonesian delegation to the WEF’s annual gathering, was selected to be on the panel at the meeting. He also met counterparts from several countries on the sideline of the Davos meeting to discuss bilateral cooperation and the latest world economy developments.
Regarding the nomination of his predecessor Mari, currently tourism and creative economy minister, as a candidate to replace director general of the WTO Pascal Lamy, Gita said that he fully supported her nomination and had begun to approach countries in support of her election.
Gita said during meetings on the sideline of the WEF gathering, several trade ministers from other countries expressed their support for the nomination of Mari.
Many countries backed Mari’s nomination because her track record evinces efforts toward the establishment of level playing fields in international trade activities.