Indonesia to join TPP trade deal, Joko tells Obama
October 27 2015 11:05 PM

US President Barack Obama (right) listens to his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo at a press conference in Washington on Monday. Indonesia intends to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, Joko told Obama during their meeting.


Indonesia intends to join the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, President Joko Widodo told US President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.
“Indonesia is an open economy, and with the 250mn population we are the largest economy in Southeast Asia. And Indonesia intends to join the TPP,” Joko said following a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.
Earlier this month, 12 Pacific Rim countries reached an agreement on the trade pact that will lift most duties on trade and investment, set new business standards and protect intellectual property rights, but the final text of the agreement has not yet been released.
The US-led initiative, which Obama aims to make one of his signature achievements, would encompass nearly 40% of the world’s economy and cover about 800mn people. The US hopes it will tilt the economic balance of power in the region away from China.  If Indonesia were to join, it would be the fourth largest economy in the pact.
The leaders also discussed international efforts to fight climate change ahead of the Paris climate talks in December.
In a joint statement, the leaders affirmed the importance of preserving peat lands amid ongoing wildfires in Indonesia that prompted Joko to cut short his US visit to return home early.  “Indonesia is an open economy and with a population of 250 million, we are the largest economy in Southeast Asia,” Widodo said in the Oval Office.  
“Indonesia intends to join the TPP.”  
Twelve countries are currently party to the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”– including Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and the United States—creating the world’s largest free trade area.
The deal is seen by some as a counterbalance to growing Chinese economic clout in the region.
Widodo’s endorsement is a political victory for Obama, who is steering the already completed pact through a hostile Republican-controlled Congress and without the full backing of his Democratic party.

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