The US-Indonesia bilateral partnership agreement to be signed at the end of this year could lead to the removal of tariffs on some Indonesian products such as textiles, said representatives of the business community.
“The agreement could be the start of another detailed agreement on specific issues, such as removing duties on textiles exported to the US,” said Shinta Kamdani, chairwoman for foreign investment at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).
The Comprehensive US-Indonesia Bilateral Partnership agreement was proposed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in November and accepted in principle by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, in February. It will address issues including trade relations, education, democracy and reform, food security and climate change.
Public input on the agreement is currently being sought in both countries. The United States-Indonesia Society held a promotional event in Jakarta on Tuesday. Among the recommendations by members of the Indonesian business community was a selective lifting of tariffs on certain products. They also suggested a greater transfer of innovative and creative technologies to Indonesian companies from US companies based in Indonesia through corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
These suggestions are to be compiled into a report for later discussion.
Meanwhile, US businesses are demanding more legal certainty in Indonesia, including clarification of vague and often contradictory regulations. If some of these conditions are met, US companies have promised to boost investment in Indonesia.
“US companies such as General Electric said they could double investment in the country and there also a few mining companies that are interested in investing here,” said Sandiaga Uno, head of small- and medium-sized enterprises for Kadin.