Indonesia Min:Japan Wants To "Cherry Pick" In Trade Talks

09-16-06 08:39 AM EST

SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Indonesia's trade minister said Japan wants to "cherry pick" in the ongoing bilateral trade talks that the two countries began last year.

"They want to take the best, they want to cherry pick," trade minister Mari Pangestu said at a seminar in Singapore Saturday.

Indonesia and Japan began talks in 2005 to develop a bilateral agreement with initiatives to bolster both trade and investment.

"I would say, to be very blunt, I think Japan is not coming forth to come up with best practices," Pangestu said.

Japan is Indonesia's largest trading partner, absorbing about one-fifth of Indonesia's total exports every year.

Japan is also one of Indonesia's largest investors, and stalls in the talks could impact direct investment, which has slowed from last year.

Data indicate that in the year through July, Indonesia had received US$3.71 billion in foreign direct investment, which reflects a 24% decline from the same period a year earlier.

Pangestu was speaking at a World Bank seminar, where delegates discussed the " promises and perils" of regional trade agreements.

-By John Jannarone, Dow Jones Newswires; 65 6415 4152; john.jannarone@ dowjones.com

-Edited by Ryan Woo
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