Indonesia and UAE Sign Free Trade Agreement

03 August 2022

Indonesia and UAE Sign Free Trade Agreement

Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have strengthened their longstanding relationship by signing Bilateral Free Trade Agreement named “Indonesia-United Arab Emirates Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IUAE-CEPA) last July 1, 2022. Indonesian Media highlighted this newly signed IUAE-CEPA as an important tool that will be used to shape commercial activities between the two countries that has a diplomatic relationship since 1976.

Although the official text of the IUAE-CEPA cannot be accessed by the public yet, it is informed that the agreement covers some aspects, including trade of goods and services, investment, Islamic Economy, economic cooperation, procurement of goods and services, e-commerce, small and medium business, the origin of goods, legal and organization, and interestingly, Intellectual Property.

"The inclusion of Intellectual Property as one of the aspects under IUAE-CEPA shows that Indonesia seriously focuses to continue and raise the export of Indonesian leading creative industry products and services to UAE which is in line with the Indonesian Government’s goal to become one of the global players of the creative industry in 2030," says Fortuna Alvariza, Founding Partner at FAIP Advocates & IP Counsels in Indonesia. "Since the creation of the National Creative Agency in 2015, The Government has been promoting the importance of Intellectual Property Rights, especially for 16 sub-sectors of the creative industry, which are: Apps and game development, Architecture, Interior design, Fashion, Product Design, Visual Communication Design, Movies, animation, and video, Photography, Crafts, Culinary Arts, Music, Publishing, Advertising, Performing art, Fine art, and Television and radio."

Although the National Creative Agency no longer exists as it merged under the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, the activities related to the promotion of the importance of Intellectual Property for the said 16 sub-sectors is continued. According to the statistic report of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, top 5 sub-sectors are Culinary, Crafts, Fashion, printing, and performing art. From the said top 5, Culinary, Crafts and jewelry, and Fashion are the main Indonesian creative industry products exported to UAE, apart from Palm oil and electronic apparatus. Meanwhile, the main imported products from UAE to Indonesia are semi-raw metals or steels, non-forged aluminum, gold, sulfur, and polymer propylene.

 "Since the early 2000s, Indonesia has been known as the center of the world's modern Muslim fashion.," says Alvariza. "The garment and fashion industry is known as one of the strong sectors in Indonesia. Although Indonesia is not an Islamic country, its reputation as one of the most tolerant Muslim majority countries has supported the large growth of the modern Muslim fashion industry in the country. UAE has become Indonesia’s strategic partner since a long time ago, especially because the two countries are promoting Islamic practice tolerance."

She adds that further, a number of Indonesian people living in the Middle East have brought Indonesian culinary industry in Middle East countries, including in UAE.

"The culinary arts of Indonesia have been enjoyed all, and not only by Indonesian people," she says. "The same characters of the Indonesian Culinary arts among others Halal-Food are the reason why Indonesian culinary business can be accepted and enjoyed in Middle East. The IUAE-CEPA also stipulates the bilateral recognition of Halal Certification issued by the two countries. The IUAE-CEPA is also expected to create more opportunities for the two countries, as it is predicted that working opportunities will be opened wider due to the bilateral agreement which will open the market between the two countries, and gradually reduce and/or remove the trade tariffs for the two countries."


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