“This is the most comprehensive bilateral trade agreement Indonesia has ever signed and will give Australian exporters a competitive advantage, especially at a time when many are doing so harshly in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The IA-CEPA contains clauses relating to bilateral free trade, investments, qualification visas, investor arbitration procedures, e-commerce and intellectual property protection.  Under the agreement, Indonesia will lift tariffs on almost all Australian products exported to Indonesia, while all Indonesian products exported to Australia will be duty-free.  Australian companies could hold a majority stake in Indonesian telecommunications, transportation, health and energy companies. In addition, the number of working holiday visas issued each year in Donesier would increase from 1,000 to 4,100 (then to 5,000 by 2026, and Australian universities could open Indonesian campuses.  Trade Minister Simon Birmingham told the New Daily that he found it “surprising that the ACTU is critical of a trade agreement that will actually create more jobs for Australians.” Six rounds of negotiations between the two countries have been held until February 2017 and both Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) have pledged to end talks by the end of the year in March 2017.  Negotiations under way during the year did not conclude the agreement until the end of 2017, which was 10 cycles until November.  In March 2018, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi acknowledged that negotiators were still trying to resolve some of the issues and postponed the deadline until the end of 2018.  Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita wanted to sign the agreement in April 2018.  “This agreement will help diversify Australia`s trade and strengthen our economic and cultural ties with one of our closest and closest neighbours.” Source: Joint Statement by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Australian Government (February 10, 2020).
Under the IA-CEPA, 99% of Australian products will arrive in Indonesia duty-free (in value) or under significantly improved preferential regimes. The AI-CEPA will also support the strengthening of value chains between Australian and Indonesian companies and ensure that Australia is well positioned to strengthen economic cooperation and participate in Indonesia`s growth. In addition, it will provide a significant boost to a number of service sectors, including education, training, tourism, finance, mining and energy, and will introduce new mechanisms to remove non-tariff barriers. That`s why Prudence Gordon, general manager of trade and economics for the National Farmers Federation, told the New Daily that the agreement was “exceptional” for drought-affected farmers. Bilateral trade negotiations between the two countries began in November 2010, with the IA-CEPA itself announced in a joint statement chaired by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Von Julia Gillard.   After several conferences and meetings during 2011, another joint communiqué was issued following a meeting in Darwin on 3 July 2012, calling for the opening of negotiations by the end of the year.  Relations between the two countries (following the 2013 Australian spying scandal and the Indonesian execution of Australian citizens in 2015) continued, and in 2015 Indonesia imposed tariffs on imports of Australian cattle.