Australia and Indonesia bridging the gap with cultural exchange, renewed economic ties and encouraging investment

Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb brings largest business delegation of more than 300 people to Indonesia to launch trade talks – discussions will continue early next year

Canberra (Report by Tribune International): The Indonesia Business Summit and Indonesian Fair 2015 held in Canberra on 12-15 November was a great success, according to the Indonesian diplomats and key Australian business-trade representative bodies.

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb at Indonesia Business Summit (Photo by Tribune International)

Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb at Indonesia Business Summit (Photo by Tribune International)

Key issues were addressed at the summit including new trade partnership opportunities across Indonesia in infrastructure, financial services, maritime, tourism and agricultural sectors. Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, Indonesian Minister for Maritime and Fisheries Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti, and Chairman of the Indonesian Investment Coordination Board Franky Sibarani were present at the business summit.

An Indonesian business delegation enthusiastically participated at the Indonesia Fair (being held alongside the business summit) where they showcased their traditional products and services, art, tourism and culture as a way to strengthen the ties between the two countries. Many local Australians and people from the multicultural communities in Canberra attended the two-day exhibition. ‘I have never been to Indonesia, so this is a great opportunity for me to see the traditional clothing, jewellery and bags that I would love to buy’ said Mrs. Lee, an attendee of the fair.

Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb, while speaking at the business summit forum before leaving for Indonesia to attend the Indonesia-Australia business week,  firmly stated the importance of Indo-Aus ties and said that Indonesia and Australia has a long-term relationship being a close neighbour and believes it is in the interest of both Indonesia and Australia to form a comprehensive economic partnership agreement which will play an important role in encouraging investment and aiding competitive entry to global supply chains.

Indonesian Cultural Show at Indonesia Business Summit (photo by Tribune International)

Indonesian Cultural Show at Indonesia Business Summit (photo by Tribune International)

Mr Robb says he is eager to increase the number of Australian business in Indonesia from 250 to 1000.

Over 350 senior Australian business people from various industries including infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, agriculture and food sustainability, premium food and beverage, health and aged care, resources and energy, education and tourism attended the Indonesia-Australia business week in Jakarta (17-20 Nov).

While speaking to the media in Yogyakarta, Mr Robb said that “Australia to some extent has overlooked Indonesia over the past two decades, concentrating more on building trade in major northern Asian economies,” .

Australia has pledged over $300 million to assist Indonesia with infrastructure development over the next decade.

Indonesia is Australia’s 12th largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling AUD$15.7 billion in 2014. The two-way investment relationship totalled AUD$9.6 billion in 2014.

Australia and Indonesia are set to resume trade talks early next year.

In a recent development during the visit of Australian trade minister, Andrew Robb that it was a matter of urgency to revive talks on a trade agreement with Indonesia. Talking to the media, he said, ‘It’s a very important visit from our point of view’.

Minister Robb visiting Indonesia with the biggest delegation of 350 businessmen and businesswomen ever visited Indonesia. ‘We haven’t had the engagement that we could and should as such close neighbours’ he said.

Mr. Robb announced that talks on a trade pact, which stalled after initial discussions several years ago, would be revived as soon as early next year.

Indonesia is Australia’s 12th largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at US$16 billion last year. Robb said that Australia is attracted by Indonesia’s fast-growing economy and its location, which he said makes it an entry point for Australia to the rest of the region.  Whereas Australia’s main exports to Indonesia are wheat and cattle. Relations between Jakarta and Canberra were gone down when two Australian drug smugglers were sentenced to death plenty by Indonesian Court and no mercy was given by head of Indonesia, and now since Malcolm Turnbull took office as an Australian Prime Minister rebuilding measure are being done by both governments.