INDONESIA TRADE DEAL MUST NOT BECOME A WASTED OPPORTUNITY

MADELEINE KING MP.
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1 year ago
INDONESIA TRADE DEAL MUST NOT BECOME A WASTED OPPORTUNITY
MADELEINE KING MP
Labor calls on the Morrison Government and the Australian business community to take full advantage of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) which came into force yesterday.
 
The launch of this agreement is a unique opportunity to strengthen our economic engagement with Indonesia, which has languished under the Liberals since 2013.
 
Labor believes Australia’s relationship with Indonesia – which is forecast to become the world’s fourth biggest economy by 2050 – is central to our security and prosperity.
 
That is why the former Labor government initiated negotiations in 2012 for an Indonesia-Australia economic partnership.
 
But these negotiations stalled for several years when the Coalition came to office.
 
Australia’s trading relationship with Indonesia has since gone backwards.
 
Unfortunately, we are now seeing further signs that the Government does not take seriously the relationship with Indonesia.
 
The Government is ignoring requests to provide emergency funding to the Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS), an organisation that has played a key role for 25 years in forging closer relations between Australia and Indonesia.
 
This is occurring at a time that we need to boost people-to-people links and deepen our understanding of Indonesia.
 
This new agreement between Australia and Indonesia should help to address an economic relationship that is badly underdone.
 
Indonesia has a population of 260 million people and is one of Australia’s closest neighbours. It is poised to become a global economic powerhouse. Yet it accounts for only around 2 per cent of Australia’s exports.
 
When IA-CEPA came before Parliament last year, Labor supported it because we believe it will create jobs, generate economic growth and raise living standards.
 
Labor also secured commitments from the Government to ensure that the implementation of IA-CEPA would safeguard Australian jobs and address the exploitation of foreign workers
 
The agreement has since become even more significant to both countries given the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
TRADE AND INVESTMENT