EFTA Progresses Asian Trade Pacts


The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has decided to start talks on a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia, and its negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Hong Kong were also said to be progressing smoothly.

During a meeting in Jakarta on July 7, the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and his Swiss counterpart, Doris Leuthard, in her capacity as the Chair of the EFTA Council, agreed to the commencement of negotiations on an Indonesia-EFTA CEPA.

While discussing the economic relations between Indonesia and EFTA, they emphasized the complementary nature of the two economies. They recognized the potential for strengthening further that relationship by the conclusion of a bilateral CEPA, and decided that talks to that end should start as soon as possible.

In that respect, there had been a previous report of a joint study group in January 2007, which had also recommended that the two parties should enter into CEPA negotiations. In agreement with that study, President Yudhoyono and President Leuthard stressed that the negotiations should be comprehensive, covering all sectors relevant to trade and investment.

It can therefore be envisaged that the proposed CEPA will provide for the reduction, not only of tariffs on goods, but also non-tariff barriers to trade and investment cooperation.

In addition, it has been confirmed that delegations from EFTA and Hong Kong met earlier this month for a second round of negotiations on their proposed comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA). It was disclosed that the two sides have made significant progress and agreed to meet again in the second half of August in Geneva.

The EFTA-Hong Kong negotiations were launched in January 2010, and the intention is to complete a broad-based FTA by the end of this year. It is envisaged that it will cover, in particular, trade in goods, rules of origin, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, trade in services, and investment.

Quelle: Tax-News.com