Washington, D.C. –
United States Trade Representative Rob Portman met today with Indonesia’s
Minister of Trade Mari Pangestu, under the United States-Indonesia Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), to discuss how to broaden and deepen the
U.S. – Indonesian
"We are eager to grow the already strong trade and investment ties between
the United States and Indonesia, a key trading partner and ally in an important
part of the world," Ambassador Portman said. "We are considering specific
initiatives to help support Indonesia’s efforts to strengthen its investment
climate, as we are seeking to deepen our economic relations with Southeast Asia
as a whole."
"We also discussed how we could work together to help achieve a successful
outcome to the ongoing WTO Doha Round negotiations," Portman continued.
"Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a major exporter of both
agricultural and manufactured goods, so it has a lot to gain from a successful
Ambassador Portman also welcomed the launch of negotiations of the first-ever
U.S. agreement to facilitate bilateral cooperation to combat illegal logging.
During the TIFA discussions, the two sides made good progress on this issue,
which is consistent with President Bush’s global Initiative to Address Illegal
Logging that was launched in 2003.
"I am pleased to report that the United States and Indonesia are committed to
concluding a landmark agreement to combat illegal logging and illegal trade in
endangered species. This is a unique opportunity to strengthen our cooperation
with Indonesia to better protect Indonesia’s parks, forests and sensitive
habitats from illegal logging," Portman said.
Ambassador Portman and Minister Pangestu discussed the planned upgrade in
cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesian customs agencies and joint efforts
to enhance protection of intellectual property rights. They also reviewed
investment reforms underway in Indonesia as well as additional steps the two
sides could take to promote and facilitate additional foreign investment.
The meeting between Ambassador Portman and Minister Pangestu capped two days
of TIFA meetings between delegations from both countries. The meetings covered a
wide range of bilateral issues, including agriculture, investment, intellectual
property, and customs, and transshipment of goods. Ambassador Portman and
Minister Pangetsu also exchanged views on the Indonesian government’s ongoing
anti-corruption campaign, which the U.S. Government strongly supports.
Two-way trade between the United States and Indonesia totaled $15.1 billion
in 2005, up 11.8 percent over the previous year. Indonesia is part of the
ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which collectively is
the fourth largest market for U.S. exports. With continued strong economic
growth anticipated in ASEAN countries and a regional population of about 500
million, the United States anticipates significant future trade and investment
opportunities for U.S. companies in this region.
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.
During the TIFA meetings, the two sides held intensive discussions on
concluding as soon as possible an agreement to combat illegal logging. A
bilateral United States-Indonesia agreement will build on existing Indonesian
efforts to combat illegal logging in the forest sector and help ensure that
Indonesia’s legally produced timber and wood products have continued access to
U.S. and other international markets. The United States is focusing this effort
on Indonesia because Indonesian forests and their biodiversity present a
significant conservation opportunity. In addition, Indonesia has demonstrated a
strong political commitment to addressing the problem and has asked for the
United States to partner with it on this important effort. An agreement on
combating illegal logging will further demonstrate a commitment to work closely
together to address important trade and environment concerns.
Click here for a transcript of the joint media availability with USTR Portman and Minister Pangestu.