December 19, 2020, 03.20 AM – In a breakthrough deal, Indonesia signed a bilateral trade deal with South Korea as the country looks to boost investments.

The deal known as the Indonesia-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IK-CEPA) symbolizes the ever-growing bilateral relations between Indonesia and its key trade partner in East Asia.

On the other hand, the Joko Widodo administration appears to go ahead in filing a lawsuit against the European Union over Indonesian palm oil next year.

As one of the world’s leading palm oil producers, the government has found the bloc’s Renewable Energy Directives II (RED II) as discriminative towards Indonesia’s palm oil industry thus is looking to take it up with the World Trade Organization in 2021.

In similar investment news, President Joko Widodo is inching closer to wooing investment from Tesla following a phone conversation with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

The US company will make a visit in January 2021 to Indonesia to explore business opportunities, according to the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Pandjaitan.

More details on today’s Indonesia news are highlighted below:

1. Indonesia Signs Landmark Trade Deal with South Korea

Indonesia and South Korea agreed on a bilateral economic and trade cooperation agreement with the signing of the IK-CEPA.

Indonesia has been given 90 days after the signing to ratify the agreement which the government must first announce to the House of Representatives.

Should the IK-CEPA be ratified, the volume of trade between both countries is projected to increase by 5-10 percent at the start and even increase to $20 billion.

In 2019, bilateral trade totaled $15.65 billion, comprising of $7.23 billion in exports and $8.42 billion in imports, and decreased this year to $10.10 billion.

The East Asian nation was Indonesia’s 8th largest export destination and 6th biggest import partner last year.


2. Indonesia Set to File Lawsuit against EU for Policy Inimical to Palm Oil

The Head of the Agro Products Sub-directorate, Directorate of Trade Defense at Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, Donny Tamtama explained that the ministry is actively preparing the lawsuit against the EU together with key stakeholders and a legal team.

The aim is for the lawsuit to be submitted to the WTO by next year.

The EU is a key market for Indonesian palm oil. Statistically, 12 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil exports are shipped out to the European Union.

Between January-October 2020, the number has been on a steady decline.

In terms of average trade, Indonesia’s exports to the European bloc dropped by 2.41 percent while the average export volume also decreased 0.56 percent.


3. Indonesia’s Foreign Investment Efforts Pay Off as Tesla Announces Visit in January

US auto company Tesla will be visiting Indonesia in January 2021 as a sign of progress of getting the company to invest in the Southeast Asian country.

Luhut Pandjaitan expressed his confidence that Indonesia has massive potential in becoming a producer of battery-powered electric vehicles ahead of the US company’s arrival.

Tesla’s Elon Musk responded to an invitation from Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo on Dec. 11, 2020, during which both parties shared their views on the electric car industry and its main component, electric batteries.

Jokowi invited Musk to invest in Indonesia for the production of electric cars but to also assess whether the country may be suitable as a SpaceX launching pad.

The invitation to woo investment from Tesla proved successful as Musk stated that he will send a team to Indonesia to explore the options.


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