Joko Widodo says Indonesia will join TPP free trade deal

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US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Indonesia's President Joko Widodo in the Oval Office of the White House on 26 October 2015Image source, Getty/Pool
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"Indonesia intends to join the TPP" said Mr Widodo in the Oval Office, through a translator

Indonesia's president says his country will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, but cut short his US visit to deal with Indonesia's worsening haze situation.

Joko Widodo made the comments to US President Obama at the White House.

Indonesia, South East Asia's largest economy with a population of 250 million, will join 12 countries in the world's largest free trade area.

But forest fires there have sent a smoky haze across the entire region.

Image source, AFP
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Indonesia is among the countries worst affected by the haze, even though it is also the cause of it

President Widodo discussed the haze situation as well as climate change with President Obama.

He linked climate change to the crisis - even though the Indonesian fires are started deliberately - as weather conditions have been drier than usual.

The TPP has been seen by some as an attempt to counterbalance growing Chinese economic influence in the region, but it has come under fire both from the political left and from economic nationalists, who claim it undermines labour rights and national sovereignty.