President Jokowi Asserts Indonesia does not Join TPP Yet
President Joko Jokowi Widodo clarified the views of several people who assumed the President already made a decision for Indonesia to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
When I met President Barrack Obama, I said that Indonesia intends to join the TPP. Once again, it is intend to join, not will join, because the plan is still far from the reality, President Jokowi said when giving a direction on the Indonesian National Defence Forces Executive Meeting (Rapim TNI), at the Indonesian National Defence Forces headquarters (Mabes TNI), in Cilangkap, Jakarta, on Wednesday (16/12).
The President mentioned that he was also cautious in choosing words when talking with President Barrack Obama, at the White House, Washington D.C., the US, last October. We already relayed the message in English by using the words intend to join, not will join, even the Minister of Foreign Affairs repeatedly confirmed the words not to use will join. If the choice of words is wrong, it could become a problem, the President said.
According to the President, Indonesias intention to join the TPP is part of the effort to prepare the country in facing new challenges after the cold war. The President reminded that political constellation is rapidly changing. Free trade and integrated economy zone waves, the President added, are rapidly changing as well.
It will bring changes to every countries and we must identify it and be alert, President Jokowi said.
Therefore, according to President Jokowi, we must calculate all possibilities in detail. What could we gain and what we could not gain if we join an ideology block. The calculation must be precise.
In an event which attended by 182 Indonesian National Defence Forces Senior Officers, President Jokowi reminded the vision of the country that could not say no or refuse. The President refers to ASEAN Economic Community (MEA) which will be applied in January 2016.
Can we say that we are not ready? Cant we? Can we say that Indonesia refuses to join the MEA? We can not do it, President Jokowi answered it.
Therefore, the President added, the same condition will apply to European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the European Union (EU), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) of China and TPP of the US.
Therefore, President Jokowi suggested all to work in detail. We are not in doubt and worrying whether it is a good thing to join the TPP or not. It is not like that. We must calculate the sectors that need improvement and renewal, as well as the determination that needs to be pushed. In my opinion, those are the most important things, the President firmly said.
President Jokowi took an example if we join the TPP or EFTA in the EU where other countries already joined. Malaysia has joined the TPP, so does Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei.
We are still not join. What does it mean? It means, when our products entering the TPP zone, we must pay 15-20 percent of tax. Meanwhile, for the country who already joined the block, they are free from tax. It means, our products could not enter the zone. Thus, production of goods in Indonesia might be stopped. This is that we must think about, President Jokowi said.
Therefore, President Jokowi said, our country must prepare for it. All of us must know the preparations. We could no longer provide excessive protection and subsidy because it will make the people lazy and unable to compete.
The vision for the future is competition. There is no other thing. The human resources, in every sides must be prepared, as well as preparing products and national strategy. Once again, there is no other way, President Jokowi said while mentioning if we are still using the old pattern, the old way and the old tradition, we could furled by the changes, because the flow of goods and people could be predicted since now.
China- the US
On that occasion, President Jokowi also mentioned the rivalry between two big countries, the US and China. According to the President, our country, Indonesia, lies between the fight.
What must we do? In my opinion, we could take benefits from this rivalry as mush as possible. Make use of this rivalry for the sake of our national interest, both in economy and politics. We can take the benefits, President Jokowi said.
The President said that at the beginning of his administration, the people had seen the Country tends to take Chinas side, even the world saw it. They also saw it because the President even visited China twice, but never visits the US.
However, according to President Jokowi, the real situation does not like that. When the President visited the US, met President Obama and conveyed his intention to join the TPP, the worlds view towards Indonesia changed.
I think the most important thing is only one, the national interest. There is no other thing, President Jokowi added while saying in the future, the rivalry of influence between those big countries will get intense, particularly on the issue relating South China Sea, access control of maritime resources, energy and food.
The Indonesian National Defence Forces Executive Meeting (Rapim TNI) which adopted the theme Maintain loyality, morality and integrity as a base to materialize a strong, great, professional and beloved TNI was attended by Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Luhut B. Pandjaitan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, Indonesian National Defence Forces Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo, Presidential Chief of Staffs Teten Masduki, Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman, TNI Army Chief of Staff (KSAD) Gen. Mulyono, TNI Air Chief of Staff (KSAU) Marshal Agus Supriatna, and TNI Navy Chief of Staff Ade Supandi. (DND/AGG/ES) (RAS/MMD/YM/Naster)