Joint statement by the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia and the Minister of Trade and Investment of Australia on the reactivation of negotiations on an Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

Canberra

16 March 2016

The Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, H.E Thomas Trikasih Lembong and the Minister of Trade and Investment of Australia, the Hon Steven Ciobo MP met in Canberra on 16 March 2016. They discussed ways to enhance trade and economic relations between Indonesia and Australia.

Minister Lembong and Minister Ciobo agreed that bilateral trade and investment ties were underdeveloped given the complementarities between the two economies and their geographic proximity.

Ministers agreed to reactivate negotiations on an Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA). They believed a successful Agreement would serve as a new platform toward a modern and dynamic economic partnership that reflects the strong bonds between the two countries. This initiative signals the determination of both governments to create conditions that are conducive to expanded two way trade and investment and will maximise the potential of the economic relationship.

Reflecting our shared vision, we agreed IA-CEPA will proceed on the basis of the following core principles:

  • both sides will strive to ensure the final agreement is high quality and as comprehensive as possible, covering trade in goods and services, investment and economic cooperation, and that it is balanced and delivers mutual benefits
  • the final agreement should build upon the existing multilateral and regional agreements as well as negotiations between Indonesia and Australia.

Both countries agree to aim to provide to each other at least the outcomes in our existing free trade agreements. We intend that IA-CEPA will be a living agreement that can be expanded over time and include mechanisms for stakeholder input.

Minister Lembong and Minister Ciobo expressed their satisfaction with the initial identification of possible early outcomes by the Chief Negotiators including in red meat and cattle, skills, financial services, professional services, food processing, food and drug standards, agriculture, design, infrastructure and education. These outcomes would reiterate the significance of IA-CEPA and project the opportunities presented by the coming agreement. They instructed officials to commence work immediately on these possible early outcomes with the aim of reaching final understandings as soon as possible this year.

Ministers also conveyed their appreciation for the level of engagement of business sectors and announced the reactivation of the Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group (IA-BPG) to update their reports and recommendations. As evident from the previous report, collaboration between business communities of the two countries would further boost the progress of negotiations.

Ministers directed officials to progress IA-CEPA expeditiously and the next (3rd) comprehensive round of negotiations will be held in Indonesia in early May.

Last Updated: 16 March 2016