India: Possibility of UK trade deal 'much higher' says expert

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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Arifin Tasrif revealed British technology providers were being involved in developing the south Asian nation’s energy industry. It comes as Indonesia hopes to revolutionise its supply to achieve its climate change goals, something which UK companies are expected to play a role in.

Indonesia is a “key partner” of Britain’s, according to the Department for International Trade, with total trade between the two countries estimated to be worth around £2.8billion in 2021.

The two nations formed a joint committee to discuss a potential free trade deal in April last year, before publishing a roadmap for cooperation a year later.

It hopes to form “stronger links shaping digital technologies” as well as “enhanced political, security and defence cooperation”.

Indonesia also welcomed the UK becoming a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an economic and security bloc.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has previously stated that Indonesia “is predicted to become one of the top five economies globally” by 2050.

It comes as the UK Government continues its so-called Indopacific tilt as it looks to forge new trade relationships outside of the EU.

One of those new relationships is with Singapore, which co-signed a Digital Economy Agreement in February.

This includes provisions for duty-free digital content, cross-border data flow, and cyber security.

Asked if this was something the Indonesian Government would be looking for from the UK, Mr Tasrif, the nation’s minister for energy and mineral resources, replied: “Yes, of course.

“We have intense cooperation with the UK on several programmes regarding the development of renewable energy. We have a frame[work] for renewable energy.”

He added: “A couple of months ago I visited the UK. We met a few technology providers from the UK, so we are going to proceed [with] cooperation with them in order to develop new project opportunities.”

Mr Tasrif explained these projects were aimed at supporting Indonesia to achieve 100 percent electrification of the nation, as well as their net zero ambitions.

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Many free trade agreements include climate change clauses, which usually bind both countries to mutual targets.

In the UK’s free trade deal with New Zealand, the two nations are bound to work together on climate change and pledged to encourage a low carbon economy.

Questioned on whether Indonesia would be willing to sign up to such clauses at the International Energy Agency summit in Denmark, Mr Tasrif said his Government was currently focussing on its domestic carbon tax agenda.

It has just completed a 12-month trial covering 32 coal-fired power plants, in which it recorded a million tonnes of taxable carbon emissions.

Indonesia will start charging producers a carbon tax next year for any emissions over the Government’s cap.

Those with an excess of carbon emissions will be able to trade them with those with a deficit, as many companies around the world already do.

Mr Tasrif noted that this was “just a trial”, but suggested that “maybe in the future we can enlarge the programme to join international communities”.

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