RI-Austalia to begin negotiations for CEPA

22 March, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Indonesian and Australian trade ministers have agreed to start a round of negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) between the two countries and set a bilateral trade target of US$15 billion by 2015.

“We enjoyed about $11 billion of trade throughout last year. There is no reason for us not to be able to increase the figure in the future,” Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson said that his meeting with Gita, Australian Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry Joe Ludwig, and 11 Australian business delegates in Jakarta was to prepare the ground work for a scoping study for the comprehensive partnership, involving business people in both countries.

“When it finally concludes, it will benefit not only the large corporations but also the small and medium enterprises as well as the people of Indonesia more broadly,” Emersossn said.

In addition, Gita encouraged all Australian business delegations to invest more in Indonesia, and designate Indonesia as their main investment destination.

“There are 124 Australian projects in Indonesia, but there has not been much investment in cattle, beef and the dairy sector. I believe that this would be a good sector for businesses to start with,” he said.

Craig said that through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), his country had committed to spending $20 million over six years to improve 75,000 Indonesian smallholder cattle producers under a project called Indo Beef. The project will start in 2013, he said.

Besides the CEPA negotiations and cattle business, Gita said that the Australian government had stated its readiness to allow mangosteen and mangoes from Indonesia to enter Australia.

He said that mangosteen and mangoes from Indonesia were expected to enter Australia within two to three months.

Indonesian fruit has often fallen victim to nontariff barriers imposed by advanced countries such as Australia and New Zealand because they apply high sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS).

 

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