NTT Governor Proposes Free Trade Zone in Indonesia-Timor Leste Border

Diana Mariska
Adonara island in East Nusa Tenggara. (Photo: Chaerani)
Adonara island in East Nusa Tenggara. (Photo: Chaerani) - The governor of East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat has proposed the development of free trade zone in the border areas of Indonesia-Timor Leste and Indonesia-Australia to trigger economic growth in the region.

The NTT governor said free trade zone will bring massive economic impacts for people in Indonesia’s border areas and is worth the consideration.

“As a province with [international] borders, this will create significant impacts to economy,” he said on Wednesday, March 30, as reported by Antara. He delivered the proposal during a meeting with Commission I of the Regional Representative Council (DPD) and academics in Kupang to discuss Law No.43/2008 on State Territory.

According to Laiskodat, the governments of Indonesia and Timor Leste have agreed on the two countries’ land borders. However, such agreement has yet to be reached on sea borders between Indonesia and Timor Leste as well as Australia. Therefore, he urged the discussion on the matter to be held immediately, so the issue can be resolved.

Laiskodat added that the borders shouldn’t hinder Indonesia and Timor Leste from maintaining their political, sociocultural, and economic relations.

“I have proposed to the central government, in this case the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss with Timor Leste the idea to build and develop free trade zone because this concept can be beneficial for both countries.”

Expert on business administration from Nusa Cendana University Frans Gana predicted that if the proposal is approved, the economy in NTT will be massively elevated because the province has many potentials to offer.

“I’ve done a research in the borders of Indonesia-Timor Leste, and it’s apparent that after development was done there, the economic changed. Several people starts selling products, especially in PLBN [cross-border post] because it has become tourist destination,” Gana explained.

However, he also warned that prior to realizing the grand plan, the government should prepare every stakeholder and locals to seize the opportunities.

“If the governor’s proposal is approved by the government, it must prepare the human resources,” he concluded.

Tag # east nusa tenggara # east nusa tenggara tourism # free trade zone # indonesia free trade zone # indonesian economy

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