Indonesia close to free trade deal with Europe

Date: April 26, 2017

Source: Undercurrent News
Author: Matilde Mereghetti

Indonesia is close to signing a free trade deal with Europe, Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s marine affairs and fisheries minister, told Undercurrent News on April 25, a day after meeting Karmenu Vella, the EU fisheries commissioner. 

Pudjiastuti said that she expected the free trade deal to be signed soon. It should then be implemented within the next two years, she told Undercurrent, during the Brussels seafood show.

“We did our job to protect and sustain [our fishery activity]. We need some recognition,” Pudjiastuti had said on April 24.

Pudjiastuti pointed out that other countries, such as Philippines and Fiji and other countries paid 0% tariff for exports to the European Union.

Instead, Indonesian tuna exports to Europe need to pay a 14% tariff to enter the European market, according to a source from an Indonesian tuna exporter attending the fair.

“We face competition from the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Thailand,” the source noted, pointing out that some neighboring countries took advantage of a 0% entry tariff into the European market for tuna exports.

The source also confirmed that landings had substantially increased since the minister had been nominated. In the last two years, Indonesia has taken the hardline against vessels fishing illegally — illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing — in its waters.

The fish biomass in Indonesia, for example of skipjack tuna, has increased 240% since Pudjiastuti was nominated, while imports have decreased, according to the minister.

Pudjiastuti said that fish resources in Indonesian waters were substantially recovering, thanks to the country´s fight against illegal fishing.

The upcoming fishing moratorium in China will further benefit stocks in Indonesian waters, she also noted.

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