Australia, Indonesia Strengthen Ties Through Trade, Security

President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's state visit to Sydney over the weekend proved successful in strengthening cooperation between Indonesia and Australia, with progress in trade and military relations. (Reuters Photo/Jason Reed)

By : Sheany | on 6:17 PM February 27, 2017
Category : News, Foreign Affairs

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's state visit to Sydney over the weekend proved successful in strengthening cooperation between Indonesia and Australia, with progress in trade and military relations.

In his joint media statement with Jokowi, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull highlighted the strategic depth and strength of the Indonesia-Australia partnership.

"We are both vibrant democracies that stand for mutual respect and diversity," Turnbull said, adding that both countries share a commitment to democracy, freedom, the rule of law and a rules-based international order to provide stability for the region.

According to Turnbull, the Lombok Treaty signed in 2006 is the "bedrock of our [Indonesia and Australia’s] strategic and security relationship."

"[Indonesia and Australia's] robust relationship can be established when both countries have mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity, non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other and the ability to develop a mutually beneficial partnership," Jokowi said in his statement.

On Sunday (26/02), full military ties between the two countries were restored after the Indonesian military suspended cooperation in January due to "insulting" teaching material found at an Australian military base. Australian Army chief Lt. Gen. Angus Campbell apologized to Indonesia earlier this month.

Additionally, the two leaders agreed that negotiations of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) will be finalized in 2017.

The two countries also signed an agreement on trade barriers, which will see Indonesia lower tariffs on Australian sugar imports, while Australia will eliminate tariffs on pesticides and herbicides from Indonesian suppliers. Australia will also eliminate the tariffs currently in place on long-term permits for cattle exports.

Indonesia imports 887,888 tons of raw sugar worth US$396 million from Australia annually.

The visit also saw Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi and her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop, sign a joint declaration on maritime cooperation.

During his visit, Jokowi expressed his intention to open more Indonesian-language centers in Australia. Indonesia currently only has language centers in Perth, Melbourne and Canberra.

In his statement, Turnbull announced that a new Australian consulate general will be opened in Surabaya, East Java, this year.

Turnbull is scheduled to attend the Leaders' Summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Indonesia next month.

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