JAKARTA: South Korean and Indonesian businesses inked more than $4bn in trade deals yesterday as Korean President Park Geun-Hye lobbied to fast track a free-trade agreement with Southeast Asia’s top economy.
Indonesia and Korea have agreed to more than treble trade from $29.6bn in 2012, and both governments have expressed hope of finalising a free-trade agreement by year-end.
“We need a firm institutional framework if South Korea and Indonesia are to achieve the goal of expanding trade volume to $100bn by 2020,” Park said.
Park said she hoped the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA), which is currently under negotiation and will break down trade barriers, would be finalised at the earliest possible date.
“This pact will contribute greatly to expanding trade volume between the two countries,” Park said of the agreement, which has gone through five rounds of negotiations since talks began last year.
Among the deals signed, worth $4.14bn collectively, was a $3bn investment into a railway to transport coal and $600m into a power plant. Park’s push for the agreement comes on the back of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, where leaders preached free trade to buoy the global economy. Korea is one of many nations looking to tap into Indonesia’s booming economy -- it is already Indonesia’s third-biggest investor and fourth-largest trade partner this year, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce.
Park told local media that she hoped to boost defence ties with Indonesia, having clinched a $1.1bn deal in late 2011 to build two submarines for the country and transfer technology so Indonesia could build a third.
Park is scheduled to meet with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today.