A free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia will come into effect in July 2020 after the Indonesian government officially ratified it on May 7th, it has been announced.
The deal, known as the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), will take effect on July 5th after many years of protracted discussions and negotiations.
It is hoped the move to rapidly implement the deal will help both nations to boost their economies as they get back on their feet once the coronavirus pandemic starts to recede.
Australia's trade minister Simon Birmingham said the FTA will result in 99 per cent of Australian goods either entering Indonesia completely duty-free or under better arrangements.
Prior to this, the Indonesian economy had been heavily protected by tariffs and quotas, meaning Australian exports struggled to reach a potential market of more than 270 million people.
Other benefits of the agreement include Australian wheat producers being able to export 500,000 tonnes of wheat tariff-free each year, as well as the levies on frozen beef and lamb or mutton being halved.
Steel producers are also likely to be happy with exports of up to 250,000 tonnes of rolled steel coil to the Asian nation each year being free from taxes.
For Indonesia, the nation's president Joko Widodo said better access to Australia's market will be a boon, as will a greater number of visas being approved.
Mr Birmingham commented: "This is the most comprehensive bilateral trade agreement Indonesia has ever signed. The economic stresses being caused by COVID-19 in both Australia and Indonesia make this agreement even more important, as it will provide an opportunity to better stimulate growth and investment across both nations during the recovery phase."
In 2018-19, Indonesia was Australia's 13th-largest trading partner and its fifth-largest export market for agricultural products in 2019 after China, Japan, the US and South Korea.