The Indonesian government has set the target of wrapping up negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the Republic of Korea in the first half of this year, in a bid to attract more investment from the East Asia country.

The two countries began the talks on the CEPA in July 2012 with the initial goal of striking the agreement at the end of 2013. However, many differences remained after six rounds of negotiations on tariff cuts in several sensitive areas as well as on RoK companies’ investment commitment.

Indonesian Industry Ministry’s director general for international industry cooperation Agus Tjahajana stressed that the tariff reduction requested by the RoK would affect Indonesia’s most sensitive products, so the country would not lower them further unless there is a clear framework on how to endorse investment from the RoK to address the imbalance.

He said Indonesia hopes for more RoK investment in electronics, petrochemicals, automotive components and machinery.

Statistics showed RoK poured 1.64 billion USD into 586 projects in Indonesia in the first three quarters of 2013, compared to 1.95 billion USD in the corresponding period of the previous year. Two-way trade turnover also dropped by 14.9 percent year on year in the first 10 months of 2013, of which Indonesia’s exports to the RoK decreased sharply by more than 26 percent to 9.54 billion USD, while imports reduced by a slight 0.03 percent to 9.66 billion USD.-VNA