BERLIN, March 5 (Reuters) - 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)