Indonesia and Australia signed an economic partnership agreement aimed at stepping up trade and investment between them in areas ranging from cattle to education and cars to wheat.
In Jakarta, Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham signed the deal following completion of talks that started early in the decade and occasionally were stalled by diplomatic tension.
Following Monday’s signing, the two governments “will work on an expedited ratification process toward the entry into force of the agreement”, a joint statement said.
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will eliminate all Australian tariffs on imports from Indonesia, while 94 percent of Indonesian tariffs will be gradually removed, it said. Lukita said he hoped the agreement will be ratified before the end of this year.
Negotiations were concluded in August and the deal had been due to be signed by the end of 2018, but diplomatic friction over Middle East policy delayed the signing.
Monday’s joint statement cited Indonesia statistics saying that their two-way trade totaled $8.6 billion in 2018. Australia has said Indonesia is its 13th largest trade partner.
The deal marks a new chapter in Australia's partnership with one of our closest friends and neighbours. Indonesia offers significant economic opportunities right on our doorstep. Our neighbour has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, averaging 5 per cent growth per year over the past two decades.
Most predictions have Indonesia on track to be the world's fifth-largest economy by 2030. With a population of 270 million people – an expanding middle-class, the world's third-largest democracy and most populous Muslim nation – our agreement with Indonesia helps build economic prosperity for both our nations and the region.