The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) have overnight successfully reached a joint agreement with the Indonesian business community on common economic and trade directions that should be pursued by governments of both countries.

In a unique step sanctioning private sector input prior to government-to-government economic partnership talks in 2013, Prime Minister Gillard and President Yudhoyono had mandated KADIN and ACCI, together with the bilateral business councils from both countries, to jointly scope key issues by October 31st.

Speaking at a joint press conference and signing ceremony in Jakarta with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) chief negotiator Maxi Gunawan, ACCI Chief Executive Peter Anderson said:

"After three rounds of negotiations here and in Sydney, and countless hours of analysis and consultation with local business sectors, I am delighted that a substantive joint position paper has been settled."

"It is a unique and historical step that business groups help frame government talks, but it's a step taken with confidence because of good will and a growing sense of common economic destiny in Asia."

"The business talks succeeded because both sides believe our economies are complementary with untapped potential for growth through supply chain partnerships. The fact that private sector bodies like ACCI and KADIN and our bilateral councils have done this work makes it more likely that an economic partnership agreement, if reached by governments, will have direct relevance to investment, trade and jobs."

Mr. Anderson said that while business groups had scoped key principles and made substantive recommendations, they also committed to ongoing dialogue with local industry on thorny trade issues that have been past obstacles to fully opening trade and commerce between the nations.

"Whilst we cannot publicly release our report until it is provided to our Trade Ministers by month's end, I can indicate that key opportunities identified revolve around supply chain interconnection, technology sharing, capacity building, and investment via lowering trade and human resource barriers. There is also a big emphasis on service industry growth beyond our traditional markets."

Indonesia is already Australia's eleventh largest export destination. It's thirst for infrastructure, foods and energy security, know-how, skills capability, foreign investment, people movement and consumer goods holds great prospect for two way trade that can take it into the top ten of our trading partners.

"I said at the Jakarta press conference that an Australian business serious about exporting will, in coming years, pass over Indonesia at its peril. There might be other opportunities in far away shores, but our closest Asian neighbour is Indonesia and it is almost 50% of ASEAN's GDP and has 260 million people, a young population and a growing middle class. If that isn't food for thought, I don’t know what is."

Mr. Anderson thanked fellow Business Partnership Group members AIBC, KADIN and IABC as well as government officials from both countries.


Source : Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 October 2015