KIRSTEN AIKEN:

Australia and Indonesia have agreed to finalise a trade deal by November. Trade Minister Steve Ciobo was in Jakarta for one of the last negotiating rounds of talks which dealt with Australia's commitment to remove tariffs on pesticides and herbicides, which takes effect today, as well as an Indonesian tariff reduction on sugar, which will begin in a few weeks. Mister Ciobo is hoping this deal will recast Australia's economic relationship with Indonesia.

STEVEN CIOBO:

The relationship between Indonesia and Australia, when it comes to trade and investment, is worth around $15 billion. But that's really low, when you consider the size of Indonesia, our geographic proximity, and the fact that, as two nations, we could work together to provide better global value chains, and especially, regional value chains, by getting our businesses to work alongside each other.

Well, look, negotiations are still underway. We announced today our aspiration to be able to conclude a deal, we hope, by late November. This has obviously required a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of very good discussions between Indonesian authorities and Australian authorities. And today, I met with Minister Lukita, Indonesia's Trade Minister. We've got an excellent working relationship. And I've got to say, that when it comes to the relationship between Indonesia and Australia, it is really very strong at the moment.

Well, I think the real potential that presents itself is to build on the natural complementarities that exist between Australia and Indonesia. So, for example, Australia has an internationally recognised level of excellence, when it comes to vocational education and training. Indonesia has a desire to build capacity among their people, among their labour force. You know, there's a natural marriage there that could take place between Australian vocational education training providers, and Indonesia, which wants to have the ability to train more Indonesians, and get them better skilled for the economy into the future. So it's a natural complementarity, and it's those kinds of deals that lay at the core of the discussions that we've been having.

Media enquiries

  • Trade Minister's Office: (02) 6277 7420
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555