The year 2018 may go down in history as a year of trade wars and protectionism. But the good news is, 2018 has also seen some progress in international trade and cooperation.
After eight years of negotiation, the states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland, signed a free-trade agreement with Indonesia, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in Jakarta on Dec. 17.
Indonesia, like Southeast Asia, is a particularly vibrant and fast-growing area. It has long been in the focus of EFTA’s foreign trade activities. Unsurprisingly, Indonesia has been and remains an important partner for Liechtenstein and the other EFTA states. CEPA will foster trade and investment between our countries. Its comprehensive coverage and strong focus on cooperation will be beneficial for both peoples.
With the signing of the CEPA, Liechtenstein and Indonesia send a strong signal for open markets in an era of rising protectionism. The fact that the two countries are very different — especially in size — only goes to strengthen that signal even further. Fostering trade and a rules-based international order is not about ending global diversity, but about finding the best ways to complement each other.
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