Federal Councilor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, his Liechtenstein counterpart and the Icelandic and Norwegian representatives have signed a free trade agreement with the Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita on 16 December 2018. In the medium term, about 98 percent of Swiss exports to the world's fourth largest country in population numbers will be exempted under the agreement.
The agreement, agreed by EFTA and Indonesia at the beginning of November, was signed in the presence of representatives from business and politics from the EFTA States and Indonesia. EFTA becomes Indonesia's first free trade partner in Europe.
The agreement with Indonesia provides for a broad scope. It will improve market access and legal certainty for trade in goods (industrial and agricultural products) and services. It also includes provisions on investment, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, including sanitary and phytosanitary measures, competition, trade facilitation, public procurement, trade and sustainable development and economic cooperation.
The key points of the agreement include, in particular, the widest possible access for Swiss industrial products and selected agricultural products to the Indonesian market and the rules governing trade in Indonesian palm oil. Switzerland grants certain market compatible tariff rebates for this product under quotas which do not jeopardize the domestic production of vegetable oils. In addition, the agreement contains obligations to comply with multilateral conventions, including in the areas of work and the environment, as well as a specific provision designed to ensure the sustainable production of traded vegetable oil. In the field of intellectual property, Indonesia agrees in an ancillary agreement to develop its patent protection legislation in accordance with its international obligations.
Ratified by 2020 at the latest
Following the signing, the parliamentary approval process should be taken over immediately so that Switzerland can ratify the agreement by 2020 at the latest.
With a total trade of around 830 million Swiss francs a year (excluding precious metals, precious and semi-precious stones, as well as works of art and antiques), Indonesia is one of the most important Swiss economic partners in Southeast Asia. At the end of 2016, the Swiss National Bank registered a capital stock of Swiss direct investment in Indonesia amounting to 6.9 billion Swiss francs.