S. Korea, Indonesia agree to seek free trade deal

Yonhap | 2011/10/24

S. Korea, Indonesia agree to seek free trade deal

SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) — South Korea and Indonesia agreed to significantly boost their economic ties, a move that will include the signing of a free trade deal at an early date, the Seoul government said Monday.

The countries have also agreed to seek what they called joint "mega projects" that will symbolize their economic cooperation and Seoul’s support for the economic development of the Southeast Asian country, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The agreements came at a Seoul meeting of the countries’ joint task force for economic cooperation.

"The meeting aims to lay out details of an agreement between the countries’ heads of state in December 2010, in which South Korea agreed to join as a major partner in Indonesia’s master plan for economic development that will be pursued between 2011 to 2025," the ministry said.

The meeting will be held until Tuesday, involving some 200 government officials from both sides. A separate economic ministers’ meeting was to be held later Monday between South Korea’s Choi Joong-kyung and M. Hatta Rajasa, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for economic affairs.

The first sign of economic ties between the countries may become visible before the year’s end as the countries agreed to set up a joint secretariat for economic cooperation under Indonesia’s economy ministry, the ministry said.

Seoul and Jakarta also agreed to sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) at the earliest date possible. The countries have yet to launch negotiations for the de-facto free trade agreement, but have held three rounds of joint feasibility studies with the latest held in Indonesia last week.

Bilateral trade between the countries reached US$22.9 billion last year. The countries are seeking to boost the amount to $40 billion in 2014 and $100 billion in 2020.

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source: Yonhap