Indonesia, Australia agree to reactivate IA-CEPA

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and Australia have agreed to reactivate the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) to develop mutually beneficial cooperation that encourages creativity and innovation.

"Indonesia and Australia will ensure that IA-CEPA runs comprehensively and produces maximum results in the trading of goods and services, as well as investment and economic cooperation to balance benefits to the two parties," Indonesian Trade Minister Thomas Lembong said in a press release received here on Thursday.

Thomas said the agreement must also be built by paying attention to multilateral and regional agreements and negotiations that have been carried out by Indonesia and Australia.

He met with the Australian Minister of Trade and Investment Steven Ciobo and Australian special envoy for trade Andrew Robb at the Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Wednesday.

Thomas and Ciobo said bilateral trade and investment between Indonesia and Australia could be developed further because economically Indonesia and Australia are complementary in addition to geographical proximity between the two countries.

During the initial stage, the two countries agreed to exchange the results that have been gained from the free trade deals.

Thomas and Ciobo also expressed their satisfaction with the results of the initial identification carried out by the negotiating teams, including on meat and cattle, expertise, financial services, professional services, processed foods, food and drugs standards, agriculture, designs, infrastructure and education.

"The result of the initial identification reiterates the importance of IA-CEPA and other projects that may be made through future deals," Thomas remarked.

Thomas and Ciobo said they have instructed the officials concerned to work based on the initial identification so that a final understanding can be achieved immediately at the end of this year.

The success of this cooperation agreement would become a new platform that will result in Indonesia and Australia having modern and dynamic trade relations and Thomas said it would also reflect the deeper relationship between the two countries.

"The two countries have resolved to create a conducive situation in the framework of developing trade and investment that would maximize the potential of economic relations between Indonesia and Australia," he said.

At the meeting, the two ministers also expressed appreciation for the level of success that has been achieved in the business sector between the two countries and announced the reactivation of the Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group (IA-BPG) to renew reports and recommendations.

Thomas and Ciobo have ordered their respective officials to immediately follow up the IA-CEPA progress, with a third round of talks scheduled for early May in Indonesia.(*)

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