Indonesia, UK Seek Stronger Economic Ties with First JETCO Meeting

Indonesia and the United Kingdom committed on Tuesday to increasing bilateral trade and investment in specific sectors during the first meeting of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO). JETCO, an annual ministerial dialogue begun in April 2021, established working groups on renewable energy and green growth as well as on food and beverages and agriculture to identify opportunities for concrete cooperation. Indonesia and the UK also explored the possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA), according to Indonesian Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi, who said he was expecting the agreement to materialize “sooner rather than later”.“This is a very good platform, and hopefully this will be the start of a new beginning in the relationship between the UK and Indonesia,” Lutfi told reporters in a virtual briefing on Wednesday.

The JETCO meeting comes at a time when the UK is seeking to boost trade with Indo-Pacific countries following its divorce from the European Union. The next JETCO meeting is to be held in London. Trevelyan, who was on her first visit to Indonesia, also said there was huge potential to develop trade and investment for the benefit of both economies:

“For food and drink and agricultural commodities, I look forward to the progress that allows new products, from both our countries, to find space in the others’ shops and supermarket shelves. I have no doubt that Indonesian food and drink can be popular in the UK.” Trevelyan also said that four companies were interested in coming and working in Indonesia on renewable energy, in particular tidal energy. However, Indonesia’s local content requirement posed a challenge to investment and the development of technology in this sector, she said. Interest in renewable energy projects in Indonesia has picked up as the country seeks to expand the share of green energy in the national energy mix to 23 percent by 2025 and thereby gradually phase out coal. “I believe that we have identified a route for expanding our future trading relationship, and I envisage the UK investment to spread,” said Trevelyan.

Feb 24, 2022, The Jakarta Post