In a roundtable discussion on 12 April with the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Employers' Association of Indonesia, the Director-General said:
“Indonesia has always been a committed and engaged member at the WTO. The country was one of the founding members of the organization – and remains a central player. Indonesia is an active user of our dispute settlement mechanism, which helps countries settle their trade differences in a transparent and objective manner. And you play an important role as the coordinator of an influential group of developing countries in the agriculture negotiations – known as the G-33.
“I think this strong engagement shows two things. First, it shows Indonesia's confidence in the WTO, and the system of global trade rules that it embodies. Second, it shows Indonesia's belief that the WTO can help the country to improve its trading terms. And this isn't just about the government. The private sector – here in Indonesia and around the world – has a huge part to play. The role of the private sector in calling on WTO members to reach agreement in Bali [in December 2013] was, in my view, absolutely crucial to the successful outcome. When the private sector gets behind a particular issue or agreement it can create the political will we need to get across the finish line. In this way, business can make a big, big difference. And right now, your engagement is more important than ever.”
DG Azevêdo went on to call on Indonesia to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement, an outcome of the Bali Ministerial Conference, as it could reduce Indonesia's trade costs by around 13% and would create a friendlier climate for the private sector. He also highlighted Indonesia's important role in ensuring that negotiations in the Nairobi Ministerial Conference reached a positive outcome. Outcomes from Nairobi, he said, will help benefit farmers and exporters in Indonesia and will also be important to the country's development strategy, which includes food security as a key element. Looking ahead, Indonesia has the opportunity to contribute to the important conversation now under way among WTO members about how to move forward the work of the WTO, DG Azevêdo said.
DG Azevêdo also met with academics and students on 13 April at a seminar organised by the Indonesian Economist Association, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, and the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance. His full speech is available here.