Indonesia has requested to open negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Eurasian Economic Union, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week. Speaking in the follow-up to the negotiations with his Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, Lavrov said that the proposal on creating an EAUE-Indonesia free trade zone is under consideration. “Indonesia shows interest in starting negotiations on creating a free trade zone with this union [EAEU]. The relevant proposal has been introduced and is now being considered. Russia backs it.”
The Eurasian Economic Union is a Russia-led bloc, comprising Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Armenia, and is aimed at developing intra-regional economic ties and establishing the free flow of goods among its members. Lavrov also discussed with Marsuri the idea of extending EAEU contacts by engaging the union in events conducted by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member states. Indonesia offered to establish a group dedicated to examining the feasibility of a free trade deal.
Indonesia is a member of ASEAN, a free trade bloc that also includes the South-East Asian nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Vietnam already has an FTA with the EAEU while Singapore is having its application fast tracked, the latter expecting to enter into an FTA with the EAEU in 2018. The ASEAN bloc has FTAs in place with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
The EAEU effectively provides a free trade geographic space between China and the EU with implications for trade with both markets.
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