Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian government has been advised to conduct a comprehensive study and increase its efficiency before taking a decision to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) so that it will not merely serve as a market destination.

Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ) is of the view that Indonesia might weaken its bargaining position if it takes part in the TPP as it will not have enough room for negotiations.

“Indonesias bargaining power will become weak if it joins the TPP after the TPP is agreed upon by 12 countries,” Research and Monitoring Manager at IGJ, Rachmi Hertanti, said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Such a weak bargaining position will result in Indonesia having no choice other than agreeing to the standards already set previously. She also reminded that the TPP will open access for foreign companies to the procurement of government goods and services, whose values could reach trillions of dollars set in the state budget.

“This is a lucrative business for the United States corporations. That is why the TPP applies non-discriminatory regulations and national treatment for foreign companies in this business activity,” she said.

She also opined that the TPP, which is dominated by the United States, will eliminate state control over various public sectors. “The TPP has eliminated the state control over the strategic public sector by asking countries to abolish their negative investment list in this sector,” said Rachmi.

She added that the TPP regulations content had 29 chapters on economic liberalization, based on the standards and interests of the United States.

The TPP regulation covers extensive sectors and is comprehensive so the TPP has the potential to eliminate state sovereignty over the national economy that will be developed for the prosperity of the people.

Therefore, the IGJ reminded President Joko Widodo that he should not be careless in deciding the extent of Indonesias involvement in the TPP. Moreover, it is not the correct choice for Indonesia to join the pact in an effort to restore its national economy.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo had stated in Washington that Indonesia will join the TPP.

The TPP is a strategic economic partnership agreement among several countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, and Peru and several ASEAN member countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and Vietnam

Indonesias Ambassador to China, Soegeng Rahardjo also expressed the same opinion, saying Indonesia should reconsider its plan to join the TPP before it improves its industrial structure.

“It would be better for Indonesia to thoroughly reconsider its intention to join the TPP. After all, we have joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) among the ASEAN and its trade partners, including the United States,” the ambassador stated on Thursday.

Soegeng noted that Indonesia should first thoroughly study what the TPP is and the contribution it will make to Indonesia, including ways in which to protect national interests and to create prosperity for the people.

“Any forms of regional economic integration that Indonesia is willing to join in should provide concrete contribution to achieving national objectives, such as the intent to bring prosperity to its people. If we only serve as a market, we cannot become advanced,” the senior diplomat emphasized.

If Indonesia is willing to benefit from the TPP, it would be in the countrys interests to cooperate in the initial stage with several ASEAN members, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, and Vietnam that have joined the TPP, while bringing order to its industry at home.

Earlier, global telecommunications and marketing company Edelman said businesses and consumers in member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hope that Indonesia will join the partnership.

“Although, Indonesia has not yet taken part in the partnership trade cooperation, yet its representatives have expressed an interest in joining it in the future,” Raymond Siva of Edelman Indonesia said in a press statement released recently.

In its efforts to join TPP, Raymond said, Indonesia should be able to take courageous steps in various sectors, including intellectual property, environment protection, labor reforms and reformation of its state-owned companies.

“This means that Indonesia’s desire to join this group can be realized only in the middle term,” Raymond noted.

According to him, the impact of TPP on the Indonesian economy and trade expansion is obvious. Vietnam and Malaysia have joined the partnership and signed the agreement so that they can directly compete with Indonesia in a number of sectors, such as in the production sectors of clothing, garments, footwear, agriculture, fisheries, forestry products, palm oil and rubber.

Raymond said if the TPP is ratified, its member countries will have better market access to main export destinations. “For instance, the garment sector will depend on an agreement which is based on the rule of the country and the origin of goods,” he said.

He added that businessmen in Indonesia also needed to study and evaluate the agreement’s text. The opportunities are now available for them to make structural changes needed to compete effectively.

Therefore, according to Vice President Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia must become efficient in several production sectors to ready itself before joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“We have to be efficient if we want to increase our competitiveness. It will also encourage us to become more efficient than other countries,” Kalla stated at his vice presidential office on Wednesday.

He remarked that the government had reassessed the opportunity to join the partnership cooperation and had decided to take part in it. The vice president believed that the Indonesian market will broaden if it joined the partnership.

“But, after conducting a reassessment, we found that competition within the ASEAN countries will not be balanced if we did not join it,” Kalla noted.

Kalla explained that joining the TPP would not mean that the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) will become open to foreign ships.

“The TPP does not mean that all people can freely fish in Indonesian EEZ. But, we admit to the fact that it will facilitate open trade,” affirmed the vice president.

He emphasized that Indonesia should increase its efficiency in all production sectors, so that investment will flow into the country.(*)

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