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Australia, Indonesia Pushing To Conclude Trade Deal

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

22 September 2017

Trade ministers from Australia and Indonesia have expressed hope that a new Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) can be signed by the end of this year, at the latest.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo met with his Indonesian counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita this week to discuss the state of negotiations.

Speaking at a joint press conference, both Ciobo and Lukita stressed the need for a "win-win" agreement.

Ciobo said that Indonesia and Australia are "both very committed to building stronger trade and investment ties," which will in turn help "people-to-people links [to] flourish."

Lukita said that the negotiations must involve compromise on both sides, but added that the agreement "is for the benefit of Australia and also for the benefit of Indonesia."

A ninth round of talks will be held in Indonesia from October 2-6, with a 10th to follow in mid-November. An additional round is scheduled for December.

However, Ciobo and Lukita have now agreed that the aim should be for the November round to be the last in the negotiations.

Ciobo also told reporters during a doorstop interview that it is his "aspiration that Australia and Indonesia should be able to conclude a high-quality deal, a deal that reflects the opportunities between our two nations to recast our trade [and] investment relationship."

"One that takes into account Indonesia's aspirations to continue to develop their economy. And one that sees Australia working with Indonesia to grow it as an export market and to provide cheaper and better business imports, which in turn, will also help Indonesia be more competitive."

TAGS: investment | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | tariffs | trade treaty | Australia | agreements | Indonesia | import duty | trade

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