Indonesia - Australia Want Development Deal

26 April, 2011 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Australia and Indonesia agree that the Com-prehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) currently being discussed should reflect development principles to guarantee benefits for participating parties.

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson said Wednesday that through such a trade agreement, Australia expected to promote economic cooperation beneficial to both parties.

“We approach this development-based agreement not simply as a trade agreement. We can be a trend setter on the quality that can go into an agreement that is truly beneficial to both countries,” he told reporters after witnessing the signing of an MoU between the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with its Australian counterpart at the Trade Ministry.

Emerson added that his government would try to promote economic cooperation, which would include assistance to lift the standard of living of Indonesians.

“Commercial relations between Indonesia and Australia have much upside potential. We are the two biggest economies in the region. That means there are opportunities for economic development for both countries,” he said.

Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said the development principles would be reflected in all aspects in the negotiation of the CEPA so that Indonesian stakeholders in Indonesia could benefit.

“We have also agreed that preparations and negotiations will engage all stakeholders,” she said, citing the signing of the MoU as an example.

Emerson said Australia businesses were keen to invest and work with Indonesian counterparts in the sectors where they had expertise, such as beef husbandry and other services sectors such as green economy, including geothermal energy and carbon capturing storage.

Trade Ministry director general for international trade cooperation Gusmardi Bustami said the CEPA negotiation was expected to be complete this year.

“It is very important to boost trade and investment and deepen the bilateral economic partnership between Indonesia and Australia.

“Through the agreement, we will receive better treatment compared to other countries,” he said, citing Thailand as an example of a country having benefited from such an agreement with Australia from 2004.

Indonesia is currently Australia’s fourth largest market for agricultural exports, behind Japan, China and the US. In 2009-10, the trade value between Australia and Indonesia reached A$11.8 billion (US$12.4 billion), according to data at the Australian Embassy, while investment stood at A$4.6 billion.

Indonesia’s Trade Ministry data showed that bilateral trade last year was $8.3 billion.

Indonesian exports, among others, gold, wood, tires and furniture to Australia. It imports wheat, cotton, copper, mineral and chemical fertilizers from the country.

The formal discussion to start CEPA negotiations occurred between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Jakarta in November 2010. Indonesia is currently discussing a similar agreement with several other countries including European countries and India.

 

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