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Indonesia wants to join TPP as Vietnamese threat looms
12
Oct '15
As Indonesia makes a belated bid to join the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership, the country's Trade Minister Thomas T. Lembong has appealed for widespread support to join the trade bloc within two years, according to media reports.

He said firms would continue to invest in Southeast Asia's largest economy as long as there was certainty that it would eventually be part of the TPP free trade agreement and conclude a similar pact with the European Union.

"If the government can give that, in 2-3 years we would have TPP and the European [agreement], they will keep on investing in Indonesia," he said.

The Indonesian government was initially opposed to joining the TPP, but has changed its stance under President Joko Widodo, who took office in October last year.

Widodo is scheduled to meet US President Barack Obama on October 26 in his first presidential visit to Washington, during which he will discuss business and investment ties.

Last week, 12 Pacific Rim countries reached an agreement for the most ambitious trade pact in a generation, aiming to liberalize commerce in 40 per cent of the world's economy.

For now, Indonesia's is worried about Vietnam being part of the TPP. Lembong said that Vietnam would pose the biggest threat and competition to Indonesia in the textile and shoe industry after that country joined the TPP.

Thomas said that by joining the US-initiated pact, Vietnam's products would be more competitive in the Indonesian market in the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), starting December 2015.

“Indonesia's textile market in the US and Japan could be taken over by TPP members,” he warned.

Indonesia's is going through a stubborn economic slowdown and cheaper Vietnamese products will only make things worse for the country. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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