Trade Minister Steven Ciobo is “very hopeful” a free trade agreement will be in place with Indonesia by the middle to end of next year.
This follows a recent meeting with Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and a visiting trade delegation.
“Minister Lukita’s decision to visit Australia at this time to discuss the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) reflects the importance of this agreement to both governments,” Mr Ciobo said.
Indonesian President Widodo was also expected in Australia, but had to postpone his visit.
Mr Ciobo said IA-CEPA would create the framework for a new era of closer economic engagement between the two countries, opening new markets and opportunities for Australian businesses, primary producers and service providers.
During the visit Minister Lukita said Indonesia remained committed to live cattle trade with Australia.
He confirmed there will not be a quota for animals out of Australia.
Important regional partner
Mr Ciobo said Australia would continue to work with Indonesia to help boost its domestic breeding stock of cattle.
Australia’s two-way trade with Indonesia was valued at $15 billion in 2015 making it only our 13th largest trade partner.
“While Indonesia is our largest neighbour and important regional partner, our trade and economic relationship can and should be much stronger,” Mr Ciobo said.
“The IA-CEPA will bring our economies closer and enable Australian and Indonesian businesses to benefit from the strong complementarities between our economies, creating new export opportunities for Australian businesses.”
With a population of more than 255 million – including a middle class of more than 45 million forecast to grow to 135 million by 2020 – the IA-CEPA will open the doors to supply the growing needs of Indonesian consumers with Australian goods and services.
“IA-CEPA will create opportunities for Australian and Indonesian businesses to work together,” Mr Ciobo said.
“We’re very focused in particular on services exports from Australia, opportunities in relation to tourism, in relation to education, as well as what we’re doing in our traditional markets like agriculture and live cattle exports, for example.
“This is why we are undergoing negotiations now, and I’m very hopeful that with the successful conclusion of negotiations, we hope around the middle to end of next year, we’ll be well placed to see the economic relationship between Australia and Indonesia go from strength to strength.”