Australia takes steps towards free trade agreement with Indonesia

Industry News | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Australia is taking a number of steps to strengthen its relationship with Indonesia, with the ultimate aim of forming a free trade agreement with the country.

Efforts are being made to forge a strong economic partnership between Australia and Indonesia, with a free trade agreement (FTA) highlighted as the ultimate goal.

Steven Ciobo, Australia's minister for trade, tourism and investment, is visiting Jakarta this week to discuss a number of initiatives with his counterparts in Indonesia, which is Australia's largest neighbour and one of its most important regional partners.

Initial efforts to deepen the links between the two countries will revolve around the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), negotiations for which were relaunched earlier this year.

Mr Ciobo said: "IA-CEPA will create the framework for a new era of closer economic engagement between our countries and open new markets and opportunities for Australian businesses, primary producers and service providers."

These talks have resulted in the reactivation of the Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group, a platform bringing businesses from both nations together to help shape the key priorities that the IA-CEPA negotiations will emphasise.

Additionally, pledges have been made to strengthen cooperation in support of the countries' creative industries, with an initial focus on the fashion and jewellery design industries. Over the next 12 months, this cooperation will be expanded to other creative sectors identified as key growth areas, including digital technology, performing arts and film.

The existing skills development programme on food security in the red meat and cattle sector is also set to be expanded, giving Indonesian providers with opportunities to learn more about how this industry operates in Australia.

Mr Ciobo added: "Indonesia has a population of more than 255 million, including a middle class of more than 45 million, forecast to grow to 135 million by 2020 - an opportunity to supply the growing needs of Indonesian consumers with Australian goods and services."