Mon, 15 Nov 2010

Tokyo (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is still undecided about joining negotiations for an expanded trans-Pacific free trade pact on the grounds it still has to prepare a lot of things before making up its mind.

"We cannot join the negotiations all at once. We need an agreement from other countries because we have not been invited but have to apply for (the membership of the forum)," Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said in a press conference here on Sunday evening.

"The second requirement is formidable. This is what we call an agreement of new generation. So there will be no single sector that will not be included in the negotiations," she said.

She said Indonesia was still not prepared to meet the requirements, noting that it still focused on the settlement of Doha Round and negotiations on regional trade deal.

"Our priority now is the settlement of Doha Round and the consolidation of regional trade we have been pursuing so far. Afterwards, we will evaluate our preparedness to join the Trans-Pacific Agreement," she said.

The forum was created by Chile, Brunei Darussalam, New Zealand and Singapore in 1999. The forum was revived only in 2008 with the United States, Australia, Peru, Malaysia and Vietnam expressing their interest in joining the forum.

Leaders of the nine countries held their first ever summit on the sidelines of the APEC ministerial and summit meetings in Yokohama on Sunday.

Mari said the Japanese government which previously intended to join the forum later considered its intention and would consult domestic parties. (*)