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Indonesia considers delaying implementation of China-ASEAN FTA
By Channel NewsAsia's Indonesia Bureau Chief - Sujadi Siswo
22 January 2010

JAKARTA : Indonesia has said it will soon discuss with China its plan to delay the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which came into effect on January 1 this year.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said his government has to protect the interests of its people, but at the same time does not want to be seen as to renegade on the agreement which was first mooted in Indonesia.

The Indonesian leader stressed that Jakarta will continue to cooperate with ASEAN and its other partners.

The Indonesian parliament has called on the Yudhoyono administration to delay and renegotiate the China-ASEAN FTA after fears that the agreement may hurt local industries.

Indonesian lawmakers have listed 15 local industries that needed to be protected, including footwear, textile, and food and beverages.

They have given the government six months to take the necessary steps in addressing the issue.

There are fears that Southeast Asia's largest economy could see thousands of citizens lose their jobs if local companies cannot compete with cheaper Chinese products entering into Indonesia.

Indonesia's Trade Ministry has already informed the ASEAN Secretary-General of its intention to renegotiate.

- CNA/ms

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