The McGowan Government has welcomed the landmark free trade agreement signed between Australia and Indonesia, which is expected to provide a boost to Western Australia’s economy and improve cultural ties.
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, or IA-CEPA, was signed in Jakarta by the respective trade ministers, Simon Birmingham and Enggartiasto Lukita, signalling a new step in the 10-year talks.
There is still some way to go – both Houses of Parliament are expected to ratify the agreement later this year. But Australia stands to gain significant opportunities in market sectors including education and agriculture from the deal.
The McGowan Government has welcomed the new deal, noting that Indonesia was WA’s 8th largest market for merchandise exports in 2017-18 and accounted for two per cent of the State’s merchandise exports.
Petroleum was WA’s biggest merchandise export to Indonesia (47 per cent) followed by wheat (15 per cent).
Total merchandise exports from WA to Indonesia in 2017-18 were valued at $2.5 billion, well above the annual average of $1.6 billion in the previous 10 years. WA accounted for 38 per cent of Australia’s merchandise exports to Indonesia in this same period.
Indonesia has a population of 95 million people under the age of 30. Most of them use a smartphone, are tech-savvy and are keen to learn, progress and see their country develop into becoming a member of the G7, as predicted, by 2050.
As noted by Asian Engagement Minister Peter Tinley:
“This is a significant deal, not only for Australia, but also for WA which has a strong Sister State relationship with East Java.
“In the past, WA’s relationship with Indonesia could be described as ‘transactional’ – but we are looking to advance and expand on that purely economic position and develop an even more mature and enduring relationship.
“Trade links are always important. But as we have demonstrated through visits by a number of Indonesian delegations in the past year, WA is also keen to pursue improved cultural ties and to collaborate in areas such as health, sport and education.
“The importance of this major trade agreement cannot be underestimated. Reducing non-tariff barriers to trade and simplifying paperwork will help up to 99 per cent of Australia’s goods exports – including WA goods – to enter Indonesia duty free or with significantly improved preferential arrangements.
“Indonesia’s goods exports will enter Australia duty free and I am confident that this will result in improved conditions for WA services suppliers and offer them greater certainty for two-way entry and operation into Indonesian markets.”