Indonesia, EU Demand Equitable Global Access to COVID-19 Vaccine
Chair of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) of the House of Representatives Fadli Zon welcoming European Union Ambassador Vincent Piket at the Parliament Building, Jakarta, Wed (15/7/2020). Photo: Jaka/Man
Chair of the Committee for Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation (BKSAP) of the House of Representatives Fadli Zon said on Wednesday (15/7/2020) that Indonesia and European Union (EU) raised concerns over COVID-19 vaccine development, including ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine worldwide, adding that any international cooperation—regional and multilateral cooperation—was required to effectively mitigate the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Zon said Indonesia, as a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), supports EU-ASEAN collaboration to produce COVID-19 vaccines through co-production and cost-sharing schemes. This collaboration was deemed important to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and address its socio-economic impacts.
“Countries are in the race to develop vaccines and probably they will have them available by early next year. The EU assures us that once the vaccine is found, it will be accessible and affordable to all countries, although it is certainly not free,” said Mr. Zon after a meeting with EU Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket at the parliament building, Jakarta.
In addressing the issue of COVID-19 mitigation in Indonesia, since April 2020, the European Union has signed three grant agreements worth Rp. 86 billion to overcome the health crisis and reduce the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, especially for the poor and vulnerable communities.
During the meeting, Mr. Zon also conveyed his hope that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership between Indonesia and the European Union would be adopted soon. He believes that IEU-CEPA is a win-win solution to promote economic trade between two parties through the enhancement of market access, especially for palm oil commodity.
Fadli Zon shared his concern that export of palm oil -- Indonesia's main export commodity to the European Union -- remains mired with challenges in the European market while less impediments have been experienced with other export commodities such as stainless steel and nickel.
“Though they admitted that anti-palm oil campaigns are massive in the EU for being considered not eco-friendly, they rejected the notion saying that there were restictions against it. I think that the EU, on the other hand, just wanted to protect their farmers, especially the non-palm farmers,” Mr. Zon clarified.
Nevertheless, Mr. Zon confirmed that the EU is still one of Indonesia’s strategic partners with the EU being Indonesia’s fourth biggest trading partner, while Indonesia the EU’s 33rd biggest trading partner. Both parties have various potential cooperation opportunities to be further developed. The Indonesian House Vice Speaker shared his positive sentiments on the partnership, saying, “We have good relations and big interest with the EU, especially in trade.”
The total bilateral trade value between the EU and Indonesia was recorded at $ 26.9 bn in 2019, with total export and import values to Indonesia reaching $ 14.5 bn and $ 12.4 bn respectively. Meanwhile, the EU’s total investment in Indonesia amounted to $ 2.6 bn. (ann/es)