Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Indonesia on Friday (31/08). (Reuters Photo/David Gray)

New Australian PM to Visit Indonesia, Finalize Economic Partnership Agreement


AUGUST 30, 2018

Jakarta. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Indonesia on Friday (31/08), where he and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo are expected to announce the completion of an economic partnership agreement, after years of negotiations.

In his first overseas trip since taking office just a week ago, Morrison said he seeks to strengthen bilateral relations.

"I want to make clear the importance of our bilateral relations, and my government's commitment to strengthen our economic and defense cooperation," he said, as quoted in a statement issued by the Australian embassy in Jakarta.

Negotiations over the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (IA-CEPA) started in 2010 and were stalled for several years until ties between the two countries improved under Jokowi and former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

According to Edi Yusup, Foreign Ministry's director for East Asia and the Pacific, the CEPA includes free trade pacts in goods and services, and covers education, investment rules and intellectual property.

Details of the agreement remain confidential until it is officially finalized, he added.

In 2017, Indonesia-Australia bilateral trade was worth around $8.5 billion, with a deficit of nearly $3.5 billion on Indonesia's side.

Jokowi and Morrison are also set to sign deals on cooperation in transportation, creative economy and cyber technology.

Additional reporting by Reuters.