Private sector ‘to play’ role in the future of free trade

Jakarta Post, Indonesia

Private sector ‘to play’ role in the future of free trade

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

9 September 2011

An attempt by the private sector to expand business activities worldwide will determine the implementation of free trade agreements in the globalization era, an economist said Thursday.

Dorodjatun Kuntjara Jakti, a former coordinating minister for the economy, said that the future of globalization would hinge upon the capacity and the awareness of the private sectors everywhere to continue globalizing their activities.

“In the future we will see initiatives taken by many in the business community to link,” Dorodjatun told a two-day workshop on trade and globalization.

The workshop is organized by the University of Indonesia’s America Regional Study Center in cooperation with the Canadian Embassy and supported by the Indonesia Think Tank Initiative.

Also speaking on the first day was John Kirton, a globalization export from the University of Toronto.

The development of technology and communication, which eliminates barriers of distance, time and location, would help the private sector, Dorodjatun said.

He said Indonesia would still face poverty, unemployment and infrastructure issues in coping with globalization.

“Please realize that Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, with the distance equal to
traveling from Moscow to Dublin and from Berlin to Rome,” he said, adding that bureaucracy, education and the decentralization issue would continue to challenge efforts to adapt to the rapid pace of
globalization.

He also said the country’s historical background influenced efforts to face free trade and globalization.

“I think many Indonesians will agree that the efforts taken by the reform government in 1998 to the present government, to continue the opening of the economy, are facing daunting challenges from both inside and outside the country,” he said.

Regarding the Canadian experience of facing globalization, Kirton said his country had implemented a consistent approach toward globalization and free trade.

“Canada welcomes and wishes to expand globalization with trade and economic liberalization at its core,” he told the audience.

“Canada approaches globalization based on its national interests, which made Canada, surprisingly, one of the most successful countries in the world.”

Kirton said Canada’s national interests were survival, national identity and security.

He said Canada shifted in 1997 from an investment destination into an investing country after opening up to other countries.

Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement with the US and Mexico on Dec. 17, 1992. It came into effect on Jan. 1, 1994.

The workshop is scheduled to discuss security and legal aspects of free trade.

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