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The benefits of cooperation.

Indonesia has a young and rapidly growing population of around 250 million. In what ways do you think preferential trade agreements may contribute to meeting the economic and social challenges faced by your country in the coming years?

While a fast-growing population with a steadily increasing income creates a dynamic and attractive market, it also poses challenges in terms of job creation and the development of human resources. Therefore. through its preferential trade agreements, Indonesia aims to acquire benefits including job-generating investments and cooperation with regard to capacity

The economies of Indonesia and the EFTA States are different in several respects, such as in terms of their size, growth rate and level of development. What, in your view, are the main advantages and challenges of such differences when it comes to negotiating preferential trade agreements?

The differences between the economies of Indonesia and the EFTA States do indeed offer clear and advantageous complementarities that should be exploited effectively. At the same time, in order to ensure mutual benefits, this asymmetrical pairing requires unconventional and innovative approaches, in which even the notion of reciprocity should be addressed in a particular manner.

In your negotiations with EFTA, Indonesia has to work with four partner countries. What, in your experience, are the particular dynamics and challenges involved with such a situation?

As a matter of fact, it is not a completely new situation for us. Indonesia has had some similar experiences from the opposite side of the table, namely with the "ASEAN plus one" negotiating format. Complications may arise if a common policy does not exist in a particular area, such as agricultural policy, as is the case for the EFTA States. In such scenarios, a solution has to be lbund that integrates sub-agreements, negotiated individually with each EFTA Member State, into the main agreement between Indonesia and EFTA.

Soemadi Brotodiningrat, Indonesia Ambassador

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Author:Brotodiningrat, Soemadi
Publication:EFTA Bulletin (Switzerland)
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Dec 1, 2013
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