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Jakarta Post

RI-Europe deal: What are the next steps?

  • Stanislaus Risadi Apresian and Sylvia Yazid

Brussels, Belgium   /   Mon, November 12 2018   /  01:26 am

The sixth round of negotiations between Indonesia and the European Union on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) took place from Oct. 15 to 19 in Palembang, South Sumatra.

The question remains whether we will actually benefit from these negotiations, not just economically but also socially and environmentally.

Theoretically, free trade and investment agreements benefit the parties involved by reducing or eliminating tariffs, enabling lower consumer prices, boosting exports and promising economic growth for both sides — better known as mutual gain in liberalism.

However, the CEPA negotiations should go beyond merely increasing trade and investment, and must also consider sustainability. The quest for maximum benefits, trade and investment might lead to breaches of human rights, violations of labor standards, and environmental degradation.