SMEs should benefit from EU – ASEAN partnership: Trade minister Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said Wednesday that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) should benefit from a European Union (EU) – Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) business partnership at the first EU – ASEAN Business Summit at the Jakarta Convention Center.

“The comprehensive partnership between the EU and ASEAN should be innovative, meaning integrating our needs, to boost investment and build our capacity. Indonesia has to maximize it, particularly small to medium enterprises and other sectors with less competitiveness compared to Europe,” she said.

Mari said that Indonesia had finished a joint-study on the EU – Indonesia partnership to bring it to a comprehensive agreement, while Singapore and Malaysia had already negotiated with the EU.

“Some things we hope will come up related to improving economics, investment and trade, business-to-business and government-to-government relations between the EU and ASEAN,” she said.

Mari emphasized the comprehensive and partnership elements as two key things in the EU – ASEAN business partnership.

“This is not about trading only, but more than that, this agreement has to give us the benefit of building our own capacity particularly because our partners are developed countries,” she said, emphasizing that capacity and infrastructure building was the most important benefit Indonesia and other ASEAN countries should get from the agreement. (swd)


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