Mon, 18 Apr 2011

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The United Development Party (PPP) has asked the government to renegotiate the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) following a trade deficit with China over the past couple of years.

As part of efforts to protect the domestic industry, PPP asked the government to review the policy of importing goods which could be met by domestic producers without disrupting supply and demand, PPP Deputy Secretary General Romahurmuziy said at a press conference following the party`s national working congress here on Saturday.

"In line with trade deficit (with China), PPP also asked the government to renegotiate the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, in the capacity of Indonesia as the chair of ASEAN which will host ASEAN Summit this year," he said.

Indonesia and China differ about the 2010 trade deficit, with Indonesia recording it at US$5-7 billion and China putting it at US$2.8 billion.

Data from the Trade Ministry show Indonesia`s exports to China last year rose to US$15.7 billion from US11.5 billion in the previous year. Indonesia`s imports from China last year meanwhile reached US$20.4 billion, a 31 percent increase compared to US$14 billion in 2009.

ACFTA was signed in 2004 but was fully implemented as of early 2010.

PPP further noted that the high economic growth in the past few years was one of the successes in implementing economic development. Yet last year`s economic growth rate of 6.1 percent was still far from enough to eradicate poverty.

According to a survey made by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), about 31 million Indonesians or 13.3 percent of the population lived in poverty last year.

PPP was of the view the government needed to work harder to reduce the poverty rate so that the social gap between the rich and the poor would not become increasingly larger.

The empowerment of micro, small and medium businesses must top the list of the government`s priorities in implementing the economic development, he said