Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian Minister of Trade Muhammad Lutfi and Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng on June 21 virtually launched negotiations on the Indonesia-Canada Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (ICA-CEPA).

The two countries started the negotiations with awareness and hope that the ICA-CEPA can provide various benefits of trade and investment opportunities for business actors from both countries as a whole, said Trade Minister Lutfi.

Describing the launch of the ICA-CEPA talks as a milestone of the 69-year Indonesia-Canada relationship, the minister said the effort was carried out as one of the strategies to strengthen foreign cooperation relations between Indonesia and Canada as important and strategic equal partners, especially in the midst of a very dynamic world geopolitical change.

This agreement is a strategic effort to open up opportunities for greater penetration of Indonesian products in North America, considering that Indonesia currently only has one trade agreement in the Americas, namely with Chile in South America.

Meanwhile, Director General of International Trade Negotiations, Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono, revealed that the two ministers gave instructions for the two negotiating teams to immediately prepare technical matters before starting the negotiations. The first round is planned before the end of 2021.

Trade between Indonesia and Canada reached 2.4 billion USD in 2020, of which Indonesia’s exports to Canada amounted 789.1 million USD and imports stood at 1.6 billion USD.

Canadian investment into Indonesia totalled 718 million USD over the last five years, mostly in mining, hospitability and logistics./.