BERLIN, March 5 German Chancellor Angela Merkel
said on Tuesday the European Union should agree a free trade
deal with Indonesia as soon as possible and she would campaign
for such a pact.
Speaking in Berlin after talks with Indonesian President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Merkel said: "If Europe doesn't want
to fall behind, and if Germany also wants to have its share of
trade relations, then we need a free trade agreement."
She added that if the EU was successful in establishing a
pact with Indonesia, the largest economy within the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), then it would be easier to
agree a trade deal with the region as a whole.
The EU is pursuing deeper trade ties with more than 80
countries and there is barely a region in the world where
Brussels is not negotiating some kind of pact.
(Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Sophie Hares)