Australia-Indonesia Trade Talks

Media release

12 October 2012

Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson and his Indonesian counterpart Gita Wirjawan will look at how to improve the countries' already flourishing commercial relationship when they meet today in Canberra.

Today's talks mark the 10th annual Joint Trade Ministers' Meeting, and come at a high point in the relationship between the two countries, with numerous Prime Ministerial and Ministerial visits each way in recent months.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, along with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and former Prime Minister John Howard, are currently in Bali to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the bombings which claimed 202 lives, 88 of them Australians.

Dr Emerson and Mr Wirjawan will also honour the victims today in Canberra.

On the trade talks, the two Ministers will focus on how to best involve business in recently-inaugurated negotiations on the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).

Representatives from the Australia-Indonesia Business Partnership Group, set up to advise negotiators, will today present their initial report on what they see as the main objectives of the IA-CEPA.

"Governments can only provide the conditions for a trade and investment relationships to develop," Dr Emerson said.

"But ultimately, it's up to business people to make contacts, identify opportunities and invest money," he said.

With its young population, 6.5 per cent growth last year and expanding middle class, Indonesia was a big part of the Asian Century growth story, Dr Emerson said.

Two-way trade between Australia and Indonesia was almost $15 billion in 2011, up 15 per cent from 2010.

"Indonesia, already the largest economy in South East Asia, presents exciting prospects for Australian companies," Dr Emerson said.

Dr Emerson and Mr Wirjawan will also address issues such as the live cattle trade, illegal logging, banking services, and mining investment.

Discussions would also cover world trade talks, implementation of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and other regional trade initiatives.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's Office: (02) 6277 4330
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555