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Jakarta Post

Row looms over half-hearted FTA

  • Linda Yulisman

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 11 2012   /  08:17 am

A free trade agreement (FTA) inked by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia and New Zealand is supposedly a deal without any restrictions.

But the Indonesian government vowed on Tuesday to remain protective of local markets to ensure they remain competitive amid the full implementation of the deal that will see import tariffs slashed to zero.

Agriculture Minister Suswono said the government would put in place non-tariff protection measures to help prevent local farmers from being heavily impacted by the inflow of imports from Australia and New Zealand.

“We’ll still protect our products so that they will remain competitive in the local market,” said Suswono, who is also a senior politician from the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

“Our codex standards, halal labeling, and sanitary and phytosanitary standards [SPS]...