Jakarta Seeks Revision of ASEAN-China Free Trade Pact

Amid concerns about unfair competion, Indonesia has asked the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to revise a free-trade pact between Asean and China that took effect this month, reports the Wall Street Journal.


The newspaper reveals that Indonesia's government is asking for a one-year delay, until January 2011, in imposing zero tariffs on a number of goods, including textiles, steel and chemicals, to give local businesses more time to adjust.


"We want to slow down the pace of this agreement so we are ready domestically," Muhdori, a spokesman for the industry ministry, told the Journal.


The Journal notes that many of Indonesia's sectors are already reeling from competition with low-cost Chinese clothes, toys and electronic goods, which are often smuggled into Indonesia. Sofjan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association says that opening the borders will further hurt local business. "We're totally unable to compete and we'll have to close our factories," he told the Journal.




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