Indonesia and Japan have successfully concluded negotiations to strengthen their bilateral economic agreements, marking a significant milestone in advancing trade relations. The announcement made by Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, on the 16th of December followed discussions between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Under the agreement, Japan has committed to eliminating trade barriers and providing greater access to Indonesian products. This includes the removal of tariffs on processed fishery items, a move expected to boost Indonesia’s export of such products to the Japanese market. The banking sector is also supposed to benefit from the enhanced relations between the two nations- Indonesia and Japan which will foster further economic exchanges.
The ongoing negotiations, aimed at amending the Indonesia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (IJEPA) initially signed in 2007, are nearing completion. Both countries express optimism about implementing the amended agreement by the first quarter of 2024. However, formal signing and ratification by their respective parliaments, following legal checks, are still pending.
This advancement comes in the wake of a two-way discussion between Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The meeting occurred during a Tokyo summit marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). President Joko Widodo, during the meeting, underscored the strategic importance of Indonesia and Japan’s collaboration on critical minerals. This collaboration aligns with Indonesia’s goal to position itself as a key player in the global electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain due to the increased demand for sustainable energy around the globe. Jakarta specifically sought the removal of tariffs on its canned tuna exports, emphasising the mutual commitment to fostering economic growth and cooperation.
Japan has further extended its support to Indonesia’s maritime capabilities by providing a 9 billion yen ($63 million) patrol vessel to the Indonesian coastguard, reinforcing efforts to strengthen Indonesia’s maritime security infrastructure.
In a separate development, Japan and Malaysia signed a security assistance deal, including a 400 million yen grant to enhance Malaysia’s maritime security capabilities. This underscores the commitment of Asian nations to collaborate in addressing security challenges, particularly in response to regional dynamics involving an assertive China.
During their meeting, President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Kishida addressed the continuing conflict in Gaza. President Widodo reaffirmed Indonesia’s backing for a lasting ceasefire and the provision of enduring humanitarian assistance in the area. These developments underscore the growing momentum in forging robust economic and security partnerships between Asian nations, emphasising the importance of regional cooperation in addressing shared challenges and opportunities.
Implications for Indonesia:
The successful conclusion of negotiations with Japan holds significant economic implications for Indonesia. The commitment from Japan to remove tariffs on processed fishery items is poised to provide a substantial economic boost for the nation. This move enhances market access for Indonesian products, particularly in the seafood sector, presenting new opportunities for exporters and contributing to overall economic growth.
Moreover, Indonesia’s strategic focus on critical minerals, highlighted in discussions with Japan, underlines its aspirations to position itself prominently in the global electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain. This aligns with the worldwide transition toward sustainable energy solutions. By emphasizing its role in the EV sector, Indonesia aims to tap into the growing demand for environmentally friendly technologies, potentially becoming a key player in this dynamic industry.
Regional and Security Implications:
Beyond economic considerations, Japan’s support in reinforcing Indonesia’s maritime capabilities through the provision of a patrol vessel underscores the deepening cooperation in security matters. Strengthening maritime security infrastructure not only enhances Indonesia’s ability to safeguard its waters but also contributes to regional stability.
Also, the security assistance deal between Japan and Malaysia, including financial support to enhance Malaysia’s maritime security capabilities, reflects a broader trend of Asian nations collaborating to address security challenges. This is particularly noteworthy in the context of regional dynamics, including concerns related to an assertive China. The collaborations underscore a commitment among Asian nations to foster security and stability in the region through collective efforts and mutual support.
Diplomatic and Humanitarian Considerations:
The discussions between President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Kishida regarding the conflict in Gaza demonstrate Indonesia’s active involvement in diplomatic efforts for global peace. Indonesia’s reiterated support for a permanent ceasefire and sustainable humanitarian aid in the region aligns with its commitment to addressing international crises through diplomatic channels and humanitarian initiatives.
In summary, the outcomes of these developments suggest a multi-faceted impact for Indonesia, encompassing economic growth, strategic positioning in global industries, enhanced security capabilities, and active participation in diplomatic efforts for regional and global stability. These collaborations serve as pillars for fostering resilience and cooperation in the face of emerging challenges and opportunities. It reflects a broader trend of Asian nations coming together to address shared challenges and opportunities in a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape. These showcase a shared vision for stability, prosperity, and collective advancement in the countries within the ever-evolving landscape of international relations.