Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong said that he will prioritize to establish economic cooperation with the European Union before focusing on joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Partnership with the European Union, according to Minister Lembong, will be established in the form of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA). "During a cabinet meeting, President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla give me two years to complete [the CEPA]," Tom said in front of businesses at the JS Luwansa Hotel on Monday, December 7, 2015.
The partnership with the EU is considered to be important because the region is one of Indonesia's main export destination with its 400 million population and US$19 trillion. Each year, Indonesia managed to gain a US$7 to 10 million of trade surplus by trading with the EU.
Lembong added that Indonesia will start negotiating to join the TPP only after the partnership with its European counterpart has been established. However, the government is currently conducting studies to evaluate the benefits of joining with the TPP.
Minister Lembong explained that the government will continue to establish partnerships in an attempt to expand Indonesia’s export market.