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Indonesia, Australia to discuss comprehensive economic partnership

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Indonesia and Australia will start discussing the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) with a target of US$15 billion worth of trade in 2015.

“We appreciate the initiative of the Australian government and hope the private sector will play an active role in the IA-CEPA negotiations,” Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan said when receiving Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson at the Trade Ministry Building here on Wednesday.

Wirjawan said he and Emerson had agreed to start negotiations on the scheme that entails having the Australian government provide assistance to businesses; these negotiations would permit them to conduct a study on the IA-CEPA at a business-to-business level.

Wirjawan noted that the scheme was considered important by both countries for increasing economic cooperation, trade and investment between Indonesia and Australia. He underlined the importance of eradicating trade barriers and opening market access to increase trade between the two countries.

Wirjawan had explained to the 11-member business delegation from Australia about the economic advantages and investment potential of Indonesia as one of the emerging markets that was able to maintain its economic growth above six percent in 2011.

Indonesia`s credit rating, meanwhile, has also been raised by Moody`s and Fitch to an investment grade.

Wirjawan hoped the business delegation would make Indonesia their main investment destination, especially with the increasing confidence in the country shown by investors.

“Indeed, there are already 124 Australian investment projects in Indonesia, but investment in cattle breeding has not been high, whereas that sector is advanced in Australia,” he said.

Based on the trade ministry`s data, Indonesia has typically enjoyed a surplus in its trade with Australia from 2007 to 2011, except in 2009 when it faced a global crisis.

Total trade between the two countries in 2011 reached US$11.8 billion or rose 28.96 percent from 2010.

Indonesia`s exports to Australia in 2011 were recorded at US$5.6 billion or were up 31.53 percent from US$4.2 billion in 2010.

Meanwhile, the country`s imports from Australia in 2011 totaled US$5.2 billion or rose 26.3 percent from US$4 billion in 2010.

Source: Antara (21.03.12)