KATADATA - Indonesia has a long way to go before deciding to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). President Joko Widodo said that he needs to take some time to decide whether Indonesia will join the TPP or not.
"The process (of joining the TPP) is still a long way off; it might take 2 or 3 years. This is a long process that takes considerable time," said Widodo in his official remarks during a meeting with reporters at the Miramonte Resort in Indian Wells, California on Tuesday (2/16).
Widodo said that there are many aspects to consider before deciding to join a global trade agreement. One of the most important things is to carefully consider the pros and cons in the national interest.
Indonesia will first review its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union before considering whether to join the TPP. This will take up to three years.
Widodo told his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, in October last year that Indonesia ‘intends’ to join the TPP, which means that it will not join the partnership anytime soon. (Read: Widodo Clarifies Rumour on Trans-Pacific Partnership)
Widodo confirmed that he will not discuss Indonesia's plan to join the TPP during his current visit to the US. "My visit here has nothing to do with the TPP. I’m here to attend the US-ASEAN Summit," said Widodo.
Meanwhile, Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said that Indonesia has not yet officially decided to join the TPP. The decision-making process, which includes technical and political processes, will take considerable time.
"Even the founding members of the TPP have not ratified the agreement. They must seek approval from 12 parliaments to ratify (the partnership). Each ratification will take 1-2 years," Lembong said. (Read: House of Representatives Asks Government to Reconsider Its Plan to Join TPP)
Lembong denied the rumour that the TPP rules made by its 12 founding members cannot be amended. He said that the free trade agreement is negotiable. Each country has its own privileges and terms. The Philippines, for example, has proposed a number of requirements. Thailand will follow suit this week.
The government’s participation in the TPP is expected to boost the nation’s economy and create new employment. “The President has explicitly told us to negotiate properly in the national interest and to ensure that it will be beneficial for us.” Lembong said.