USTR - USTR Portman and Indonesia Trade Minister Pangestu Launch Negotiations on Landmark Illegal Logging Initiative
Office of the United States Trade Representative

 

USTR Portman and Indonesia Trade Minister Pangestu Launch Negotiations on Landmark Illegal Logging Initiative
Announce Concrete Steps to Deepen Trade and Investment Relations 04/04/2006

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 economic relationship.

"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 Doha Round."

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.

Background

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.

 
click here for printer friendly version
 




Help Link Site Map Link Contact Us Link
 
 Search Title Image
Document Library Link
   
 
Letters of Support
item: American Forest & Paper Association
item: Conservation International
item: Humane Society International