Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita told media after holding a bilateral meeting with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, in Jakarta on Wednesday (05/29). Photo: TheInsiderStories.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian government is targeting the completion of the general review of Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA) announced at the end of June 2019, said Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita.

“We are targeting IJEPA to be announced at the end of June,” he told media after holding a bilateral meeting with Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, in Jakarta on Wednesday (05/29).

Indonesia continues to push for a general review to be completed soon. Lukita said the discussion had developed quite well from both countries. He adds, Indonesia and Japan negotiated mutually beneficial cooperation. Especially for the manufacturing industry, health workers, supply chain, and food processing for agricultural and fishery products.

“Indonesia is also fighting for a reduction in tariffs for potential Indonesian products,” he explained, adding that the country also encouraged cooperation in relation to employment. Indonesia seeks access to labor in Japan in the tourism sector.

Indonesia also offered a new cooperation proposal to Japan which included offers for export development cooperation in the textile, metal, and machinery, agriculture, and health sector labor sectors.

He said two countries had exchanged revised requests. The exchange was an improvement from Indonesia’s previous initial demand which included a number of priority tariff posts for potential Indonesian products.

“It is expected that from this process Indonesian products can gain greater market access in Japan and at the same time can accelerate the completion of negotiations on goods trade market access,” he explained.

He added, the two countries also discussed market expansion for the service sector. Indonesia is fighting for the development of Indonesian workforce placement in Japan. One of the government’s concerns, he continued, was to submit a proposal to expand employment opportunities or positions in the Japanese market in the tourism industry.

He claimed the meeting was very productive. Two countries, he adds, are open to each other to improve and increase trade value.

The total trade between Indonesia and Japan in 2018 was recorded at US$ 37.46 billion, with oil and gas value of $3.20 billion and non-oil and gas worth $34.25 billion. The total value of the trade increased by 13.37 percent compared to 2017 which was recorded at $ 33.03 billion.

While in the investment sector, the realization of Japanese investment in Indonesia was the second largest position after Singapore with a performance of $ 4.9 billion in 2018. Japanese investment is engaged in transportation equipment and other transportation modes.

Meanwhile, the tourism sector also plays an important role in the relations between the two countries. In 2018 the number of Japanese tourists visiting Indonesia was recorded at 530,171 tourists.

In addition, Japan also asked for Indonesia’s support for the success of the Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT) agenda, which was the main focus of the G20 summit, to be held in the Japanese city of Osaka on June 8-9.

With vast amounts of data being created every day, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared that the next G-20 summit should wrestle with how to manage that digital information. In doing so, he argued that the engine for economic growth was “fueled no longer by gasoline, but more and more by digital data.”

However, Lukita said Indonesia will support in principle but push that the discussion would have to balance competing demands: The need to protect intellectual property (IP), personal data, and national security intelligence on one side, while at the same time enabling “the free flow of medical, industrial, traffic and other most useful, nonpersonal, anonymous data to see no borders.”

Abe’s push comes amid increasing attention on the boom in data kept by governments and tech companies around the world – and how to best protect that information. IP protection looms as a particularly sensitive issue in the data governance talks. The United States (US) and others have long accused China of adopting unfair trading practices including IP theft and forced technology transfer. The claims have been raised as part of the US-China trade dispute.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com