Washington, D.C. – U.S. officials met June 20-21 in Washington, D.C. with their Indonesian counterparts for the second meeting in three months under the United States-Indonesia Trade and Investment Agreement (TIFA). The two sides agreed to jointly examine how to deepen their trade relationship and to conduct associated capacity building projects. They also agreed to meet again later this year to continue their dialogue.
The meeting, led by Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and Pacific Affairs Barbara Weisel and Halida Milyani, Special Assistant to the Indonesian Minister of Trade, was extremely constructive with wide-ranging and in-depth discussions of outstanding bilateral issues as well as regional and bilateral issues. The bilateral agenda included discussion about work under a joint action plan to improve intellectual property protection in Indonesia. They also discussed addressing market access issues related to customs and agriculture and measures to improve Indonesia’s investment climate, including the government’s anti-corruption campaign, for which the U.S. Government expressed its strong support. The two sides discussed the possible pursuit of an understanding to combat illegal logging, which would establish a framework for cooperation to better protect Indonesia’s timber resources and sensitive habitats from illegal logging. Finally, they considered trade capacity building that could support the joint efforts to enhance our trade and investment relationship.
The United States and Indonesia also discussed coordination on APEC and WTO issues. Indonesia is an important voice in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations, particularly as a representative of developing country interests. The United States appreciated the opportunity to consult with Indonesia on key aspects of the WTO negotiations and to reaffirm each country’s commitment to an ambitious result in these negotiations.
The United States and Indonesia have intensified their discussions under the 1996 TIFA as envisioned under the Enterprise for ASEAN Initiative (EAI), which was announced by President George W. Bush in October 2002. As part of this initiative, the U.S. Government is seeking to further strengthen U.S. trade and investment ties to ASEAN, both bilaterally and regionally. The EAI offers the prospect of bilateral FTAs with ASEAN members that have TIFAs with the United States, are WTO members, and are committed to economic reforms and openness.
Two-way trade between the United States and Indonesia totaled $13.5 billion in 2004, up 12.5 percent over the previous year. Indonesia is part of the ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which collectively is fourth largest market of the United States. With continued strong economic growth anticipated in ASEAN countries and a regional population of about 500 million, the United States anticipates significant trade and investment opportunities for U.S. companies in this region.