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Indonesian president to address Australian parliament after signing of free trade deal


Indonesian president to address Australian parliament after signing of free trade deal

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Photo: Australian Embassy Jakarta/Flickr

Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) will detail his plan for implementing the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Trade Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) at the Australian parliament in Canberra today.

In a move away from Indonesia’s self-sufficiency policies, the IA-CEPA eliminates tariffs on 94% of Australian imports into Indonesia. For Australia, which already supplies 20% of Indonesia’s meat demand, the agreement will open up access to Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

More than just opening up markets between the two neighbours—whose bilateral trade was worth $8.6 billion in 2018—the IA-CEPA is also slated to strengthen cultural understanding.

Under the accord, 3,100 more Indonesians will gain Australian working visas, and 200 Indonesians will be offered six-month work training opportunities in Australia annually. The IA-CEPA also enables Australians to own 100% of hotels in Indonesia and invest in 67% of Indonesia’s university sector.

The IA-CEPA previously stalled over Jakarta’s anger at Canberra’s now-cancelled plan to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, making today’s address an important step forward in the bilateral relationship.

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Relying on solid economic ties as a foundation, expect Australia to strengthen its strategic relationship with Indonesia as means to increase its strategic influence.

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