KOMPAS.com – Indonesia’s House of Representatives has approved the country’s membership of the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) during a plenary session on Tuesday, Aug. 30, said a senior minister.
Launched by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2012, RCEP is the biggest trade bloc in the world. The initiative, which came into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, is also supported by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
“RCEP was initiated by Indonesia in the ASEAN in 2011 and this largest trade bloc will cover 27 percent of world trade, 29 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 30 percent of the world’s population, and 29 percent of foreign direct investment,” Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto told a virtual press conference in Singapore on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
He added that RCEP comprises Indonesia’s main partners in trade and investment, accounting for at least 60 percent of total exports, 71 percent of total imports, and 47 percent of total foreign investment in 2021.
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“In 2040, the RCEP initiative is expected to increase the national GDP by 0.07 percent, reaching $5.01 billion in exports. Trade surplus can achieve a 2.5-fold increase,” he said.
RCEP initiative will give access to Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean markets in agricultural, plantation, fishery, automotive, electronics, food, beverages, chemicals, and machinery.
“Indonesia has already been host to the ASEAN secretariat. Hopefully, the RCEP secretariat will also be located in Jakarta. It is what Indonesia can offer to other countries,” he said.
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During his two-day visit to Singapore, Airlangga talked about the handling of Covid-19 in Indonesia, the country’s G20 presidency this year, and ASEAN chairmanship next year at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies and the National University of Singapore.
He also met Singapore’s high-ranking officials, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.
(Writer: Fransisca Andeska Gladiaventa | Editor: Amalia Purnama Sari)
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