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US, Indonesia build on Trade and Investment Agreement

US State Department, 22 June 2005

United States, Indonesia Build on Trade and Investment Agreement

Discussions of bilateral, regional issues intensified under 1996 framework

U.S. and Indonesian officials met in Washington June 20-21 for the second time in three months to discuss ways to deepen their trade relationship, according to a June 22 press release from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).

The meeting, following up on similar talks that took place in early April, was held under the auspices of the United States-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). The two sides agreed to continue discussions at a third meeting later this year.

The intensified pace of talks corresponds to goals set forth in the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI), announced by President Bush in October 2002. Under that initiative, the United States committed to strengthen its trade and investment ties on a bilateral and regional basis with the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

ASEAN members comprise Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the USTR press release, the meeting addressed a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

On the bilateral agenda, the two sides discussed a joint initiative to strengthen intellectual property protection in Indonesia; market access issues related to customs and agriculture; the Indonesian government’s efforts to improve the domestic investment climate; and ways to increase trade capacity to enhance the bilateral trade and investment relationship.

The two sides also discussed coordination on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and World Trade Organization issues.

According to USTR, two-way trade between the United States and Indonesia totaled $13.5 billion in 2004, up 12.5 percent over 2003. Collectively, the 10 ASEAN nations make up the United States’ fourth-largest market.

Following is the text of the USTR press release:

Executive Office of the President
Washington, D.C. 20508
For Immediate Release: June 22, 2005

Contact: Richard Mills / Neena Moorjani (202) 395-3230

United States and Indonesia Meet Under Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

Washington, D.C., June 22 2005 - U.S. officials met June 20-21 in Washington, D.C. with their Indonesian counterparts for the second meeting in three months under the United States-Indonesia Trade and Investment Agreement (TIFA). The two sides agreed to jointly examine how to deepen their trade relationship and to conduct associated capacity building projects. They also agreed to meet again later this year to continue their dialogue.

The meeting, led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs Barbara Weisel and Halida Milyani, Special Assistant to the Indonesian Minister of Trade, was extremely constructive with wide-ranging and in-depth discussions of outstanding bilateral issues as well as regional and bilateral issues. The bilateral agenda included discussion about work under a joint action plan to improve intellectual property protection in Indonesia. They also discussed addressing market access issues related to customs and agriculture and measures to improve Indonesia’s investment climate, including the government’s anti-corruption campaign, for which the U.S. Government expressed its strong support. The two sides discussed the possible pursuit of an understanding to combat illegal logging, which would establish a framework for cooperation to better protect Indonesia’s timber resources and sensitive habitats from illegal logging. Finally, they considered trade capacity building that could support the joint efforts to enhance our trade and investment relationship.

The United States and Indonesia also discussed coordination on APEC and WTO issues. Indonesia is an important voice in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations, particularly as a representative of developing country interests. The United States appreciated the opportunity to consult with Indonesia on key aspects of the WTO negotiations and to reaffirm each country’s commitment to an ambitious result in these negotiations.

The United States and Indonesia have intensified their discussions under the 1996 TIFA as envisioned under the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI), which was announced by President George W. Bush in October 2002. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Government is seeking to further strengthen U.S. trade and investment ties to ASEAN, both bilaterally and regionally. The EAI offers the prospect of bilateral FTAs with ASEAN members that have TIFAs with the United States, are WTO members, and are committed to economic reforms and openness.

Two-way trade between the United States and Indonesia totaled $13.5 billion in 2004, up 12.5 percent over the previous year. Indonesia is part of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which collectively is fourth largest market of the United States. With continued strong economic growth anticipated in ASEAN countries and a regional population of about 500 million, the United States anticipates significant trade and investment opportunities for U.S. companies in this region.

 source: US State Dept