November 23, 2020, 09.11 PM

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Following an agreement to establish an ASEAN travel bubble, Indonesia is lobbying Japan to follow suit.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that the government is working on getting Japan to create a Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) for essential business travel similar to the one ASEAN leaders agreed to last week.

“We are currently negotiating with Japan. Moreover, the TCA Framework has been approved during the ASEAN Summit.”

Read also: Indonesia and ASEAN Agree to Establish a Regional Travel Bubble

Retno said that while digital tools have significantly helped businesses across various sectors during the pandemic, there are some activities that cannot be undertaken virtually.

To overcome that obstacle and to support those requiring a person-to-person meeting that adheres to health protocols, getting countries to agree on a travel bubble with Indonesia would be necessary.

“Under the current condition, we do not have the luxury to wait for the pandemic to be over then start the economic recovery process. However, we have to do it simultaneously and by balancing the economy and public health.”

Currently, South Korea, China, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to a travel bubble with Indonesia for essential business travel only.

Read also: Indonesia, Singapore Form Travel Bubble for Essential Trips amid Covid-19 Pandemic

The arrangement with the four countries has bolstered Indonesian trade by 50 percent amid the pandemic.

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