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American Shipper

Indonesia looks to join Trans-Pacific Partnership

Indonesian President Joko Widodo told President Obama his country “intends to join the TPP” during a meeting between the two leaders earlier this week, according to Reuters.

   Indonesian President Joko Widodo told President Obama his country wants to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement between the United States and 11 other nations in Asia and the Americas, according a report from news service Reuters.
   The two leaders met in the Oval Office earlier this week to discuss a variety of policy issues.
   “We are the largest economy in Southeast Asia,” Widodo said through a translator. “And Indonesia intends to join the TPP.”
   The United States and the other TPP members – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – announced the conclusion of their negotiations earlier this month.
   The 30-chapter TPP, once ratified by the member countries’ respective governments, will cover a range of trade areas, including “development of production and supply chains, and seamless trade, enhancing efficiency and supporting our goal of creating and supporting jobs, raising living standards, enhancing conservation efforts, and facilitating cross-border integration, as well as opening domestic markets,” according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
   TPP would eliminate or reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers on industrial and agricultural goods, and members have agreed on rules to enhance trade facilitation and improve transparency in customs procedures.
   Many lawmakers and a large portion of the general public still oppose the sweeping agreement, however, arguing TPP doesn’t include enough safeguards and protections for labor, the environment and human rights.
   “As we have said from the beginning, TPP is intended to be an open platform to which other countries who are able and willing to meet the standards can potentially accede,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said of the possibility of other nations joining the trade pact.
   Froman noted Indonesia has work to do on “cutting red tape, addressing barriers such as local content and local packaging requirements, eliminating import and export restrictions and protecting intellectual property rights,” according to Reuters.
   President Widodo finalized more than $20 billion worth of deals during his trip to the U.S., but the Indonesian government said he would return home early to address the “haze crisis” caused by forest fires in Indonesia. Deals included a five-year $500 million infrastructure investment from Coca-Cola, an energy and healthcare investment from General Electric worth up to $1 billion over five years, and a $13 billion shale oil deal between state-owned oil firm Pertamina and Cheniere Energy subsidiary Corpus Christie Liquefaction, according to the Indonesian embassy in Washington.

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