Sun, 04 Apr 2010

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and China have agreed to implement the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) as scheduled and not to postpone its application to 228 tariff posts as requested by Indonesian entrepreneurs.

"I think we will both apply ACFTA as scheduled," Chinese Trade Minister Chen Deming said here on Saturday at a press conference after the 10th Indonesia-China Joint Commission meeting in Yogyakarta.

ACFTA came into force last January 1, 2010 but Indonesia had asked China to defer its application to a number of goods to give Indonesian industries more time to adjust themsleves to free trade terms. Under the agreement, now 90 percent of all tariff posts in both countries have been reduced to zero percent.

"China has reduced 7,000 of its tariff posts to zero percent," Deming said.

He admitted entrepreneurs, especially those running small- and medium-scale enterpirses (SMEs), might be facing diffictulties due to ACFTA. Therefore, he said, the Chiness government was offering assistance to Indonesia to help strengthen the competitiveness of its SMEs.

China would also help improve Indonesia`s logistics system, its machines and investment promotion efforts.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said she welcomed the Chinese government`s intention to help Indonesian entrepreneurs.

"I think we have found a good solution, one that will be more beneficial to Indonesia," she said.

The minister said Indonesia and China had also agreed to keep their two-way trade balanced, sustainable and profitable.

"Now we will focus on the improvement of Indonesian SMEs` competitiveness through several steps, namely revitalizing their machines, promoting investment and facilitating trade activity with other countries or parties," she said.

She said a working group consisting of experts from related sectors would be established as a follow up of the agreement to improve Indonesian SMEs` competitiveness. (*)