The Jakarta Post
The decision whether to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be arrived at cautiously by first establishing a special committee to review the advantages and disadvantages of joining the US-led trade-pact agreement, an official has said.
Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister's deputy for international economic and financial corporation Rizal Affandi Lukman said the ministry was preparing a decree on the TPP committee.
"Hopefully it can be signed soon. Our target is this month," Rizal told thejakartapost.com in Jakarta on Tuesday.
According to Rizal, the team will consist of two layers, namely government officials from relevant ministries, and public figures ranging from experts to chairmen of business associations. They will examine all terms in the trade agreement.
The team, he continued, would recommend flexibility for Indonesia in the TPP. Later, the government and the House will decide which regulations have to be properly adjusted.
"Each country has its own sensitive issues. We will examine which sectors of ours cannot tolerate particular requirements ['¦]. The team will examine whether the regulation synchronization can be conducted over one or two years," he explained.
He pointed out that Malaysia had requested flexibility on the position of its state-owned enterprises (SOEs)by allowing foreign ownership up to 49 percent. Meanwhile, Japan has requested flexibility on agriculture, which is a sensitive sector for Japan's economy.
Previously, the chairman of the House of Representatives Commission VI overseeing SOEs Achmad Hafisz Tohir said Indonesia had to amend at least 12 laws including the laws on SOEs , investment and business competition to pave the way to joining the pact.
"If Indonesia insists on joining the TPP, it will take at least two years to amend the regulations," he said.
Under the SOEs clause, Achmad warned, the trade pact required its members to ensure equal treatment especially when SOEs received government support in engaging in commercial activity.
Earlier, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said the government would be cautious regarding the costs and benefits of joining the TPP. He promised to involve the House in making the final decision over Indonesia's membership of the TPP.
"I think it is feasible and appropriate. In all TPP countries such as the US, Canada, Vietnam, all of their trade agreements must be ratified by parliament," he said, adding that each country must synchronize its regulations to meet the trade pact requirements.
The US, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which officially signed TPP in Auckland, New Zealand last week, are now in the process of ratifying the trade agreement in their respective countries.
The ratification process in the 12 Pacific Rim countries, which covers 40 percent of the global economy, is expected to take around two to three years. (ags)(+)