WASHINGTON — President Joko Widodo of Indonesia visited the White House Monday and brought President Obama a gift: A pledge to eventually join a massive Pacific Rim trade agreement.
[Reposted from USA Today | David Jackson | October 26, 2015]
"Indonesia is an open economy," Widodo told reporters in the Oval Office, "and with the 250 million population we are the largest economy in Southeast Asia. Indonesia intends to join the TPP."
The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, which ranges from Canada to Chile to Australia to Japan, is currently pending before the U.S. Congress.
During their meeting, the U.S. and Indonesian leaders also agreed to work together on climate change.
Widodo said climate change is one of the reasons for massive wild fires that have covered his country and some of its neighbors with a smoky haze. The air quality problem forced Widodo to cut short his visit to the United States.
Among other issues discussed by the two presidents: Counter-terrorism efforts against groups like the Islamic State and tensions with China over military bases in the South China Sea.
Obama, who lived in Indonesia as a child, said the meeting "signifies our taking this partnership to the next level. I believe that, Mr President, you're moving Indonesia in the right direction."