Getting to Know RCEP in Indonesia

Asian Trade Center shares exclusive views from inside trade agreement negotiations with AmCham

By Gilang Ardana
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

With the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in limbo following the election of Donald Trump as US President, there is a growing shift of focus to the rival, China promoted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as a framework for free trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

RCEP is a proposed trade agreement between the ten ASEAN countries and the six states with which it has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand). Seen as the other significant trade deal in the region beside TPP, RCEP entered its 16th round of discussions in early December, just two weeks after President-elect Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the TPP.

AmCham Indonesia hosted a private lunch meeting on December 5 with the Asian Trade Center (ATC) – a premier regional thought leader for trade in Asia – to discuss the latest updates on RCEP. ATC, represented by Executive Director Deborah Elms and Deputy Director Caroline Verley, was actively involved in the 16th round of RCEP negotiations in Indonesia, and provided AmCham members with exclusive insights into the dynamics of the negotiations.

The meeting covered a wide range of topics, from e-commerce and performance requirements to investment and the services sectors. Elms also shared with participants her views on how Indonesia can benefit more from RCEP by stepping in as the leader in these negotiations. She also emphasized the lack of RCEP negotiators engaging the private sector in the process, which she argued was very critical in determining the quality output of the deal.

AmCham Indonesia and ATC agreed to have closer cooperation. One concrete arena for this is to have AmCham assist in getting a dialogue going on RCEP (and TPP) between our members and major Indonesian private sector players.


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