Published: Mon, September 03, 2018
Business | By Eloise Houston

Australia push economic ties, trade deal soon

Australia push economic ties, trade deal soon

"On this matter, we hail the conclusion of the substantive negotiations of Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership", said Widodo.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo listens to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a news conference at the presidential palace in Bogor, Indonesia August 31, 201.

"In particular, the agreement to increase import quotas and decrease tariffs for carrot and potato exports - two of the Australian vegetable industry's key export crops - should lead to an immediate increase in the trade of these commodities to Indonesia, a potentially lucrative market for our growers".

Sofyan Wanandi, a senior official in the office of Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, told Fairfax Media the finalisation of the free trade agreement was "very good news for both countries".

Australia ships wheat approximately 50 percent of its total exports to Indonesia, followed by cotton, live animals, sugar and beef.

"We both stressed the importance of opening up (in terms of economic relations) efforts to cement economic relations that are mutually beneficial. It is about using Australia's strengths to build in Indonesia but at the same time provide opportunities for Indonesia to tap into what is happening in Australia", he said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sings with students at SMPN 2 Babakan Madang High school in Jakarta
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sings with students at SMPN 2 Babakan Madang High school in Jakarta

"Australia is one of Indonesia's important trading partner in the region and Australia is also one of the important partners for Asia", Mr Joko added.

In the 2017/18 financial year, Australian vegetable exports to Indonesia were valued at $3.7 million, with the top commodity being potatoes, which accounts for almost half of this total.

"It is much more than a trade deal we are talking about today".

"We are now in a fantastic position to take advantage of opportunities in lucrative export markets, and the industry is working hard to ensure growers have the necessary tools to be successful in the exporting process", said Mr Whiteside.

He said negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA) had been successfully concluded and the accord should be signed by the end of the year.

"From here we then go on to settle all of the final text, but the contents of that text has now been agreed, we just have to get all of it in order for signature", Birmingham told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio from Jakarta.

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