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Business Groups Seek Progress On Australia-Indonesia FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

27 February 2017

Businesses from Australia and Indonesia have urged officials to reach an agreement on a new trade deal by August, the target date set by ministers.

Business groups from Indonesia and Australia gathered in Canberra, Australia, to support officials engaged in the sixth round of negotiations for the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

In a statement, the Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group said negotiators should look to make "strong headway."

The Group said: "We wish to harness the comparative advantages of both countries, a combined marketplace of nearly 300 million people, and work together to service the three billion people in our region and beyond."

"The complementarity of the two economies offers an exciting backdrop for the negotiations. One neighbor's weaknesses are the other's strengths, one's problems the other's opportunities. These are ideal settings for strong partnerships spanning agriculture to education, infrastructure to tourism."

Negotiations were originally launched in 2010. Only two rounds of talks were held between 2010 and July 2013, and it was not until March 2016 that the two parties announced their intention to "re-activate" negotiations. Three negotiating rounds were held between May and November 2016.

Two-way trade in goods and services was valued at AUD14.8bn (USD11.4bn) in 2014-15. Two-way investment was worth an estimated AUD9.6bn in 2014.

The Business Partnership Group comprises six business advocacy groups from the two groups – the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australia Indonesia Business Council, the Australian Industry Group, Kadin Indonesia, the Indonesia Australia Business Council, and The Employers' Association of Indonesia.

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

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