Indonesia in pursuit of legacy at APEC, WTO
By Linda Yulisman, The Jakarta Post/Asia News NetworkJAKARTA -- Indonesia wants to use the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Meeting that it will host this year to boost its diplomatic stature and reap greater economic gains.
January 4, 2013, 3:07 pm TWN
Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said on Wednesday that Indonesia would use the APEC meeting to propose the inclusion of palm oil and rubber on the list of environmentally friendly goods.
Indonesia is the world's largest palm oil producer and the second-largest rubber exporter after Thailand, employing millions of people in the upstream and downstream sectors of both industries.
Should APEC members agree to the proposals during the summit, which will be held in October in Bali, the commodities will be exempt from any trade barriers.
“If the commodities are covered and there is also a provision for (green goods) capacity building, that would be a big leap for us,” Gita said.
APEC unites the leaders of 21 Pacific Rim nations that account for 54 percent of the world's economic output and 44 percent of global trade.
The leaders of APEC forged a historic deal during last year's summit in Vladivostok, Russia, over a list of green goods. The U.S.-initiated goal to draft the list was first introduced by the WTO in 2001, but to no avail.
During the summit, Indonesia was not able to include palm oil on the list, as many developed nations consider the commodity environmental unfriendly.
However, the U.S. then pledged to help lift barriers on palm oil imports by reviewing its previous findings that the edible oil was not eligible for inclusion in its renewable fuel standard programs because the emission offsets that it produces fell short of the required threshold.
Representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently visited Indonesia to make firsthand observations of palm oil management in the nation.
“An expected favorable conclusion by the EPA could serve as a strong basis for the inclusion of palm oil in the extended list that Indonesia would push for,” Gita said.