AUSTRALIA today ratified its latest bilateral trade agreement, this time with its northern neighbour, Indonesia.
The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) was signed on March 4 to boost trade and investment between the two countries, and passed through the Senate earlier today.
Important progress on the agreement was advanced during the ASEAN Summit in Bangkok earlier this month.
Trade between Indonesia and Australia totalled $8.5 billion last year. Australia was Indonesia’s 13th-largest export destination in 2018, with the total value of shipments having increased 12pc to $2.8 billion. Australia was Indonesia’s eighth-largest source of imports, at $5.8 billion last year.
Indonesia’s main imports from Australia last year were wheat ($1.2 billion), cattle and beef exports ($1 billion), coal ($417m), sugar ($293m) and iron ore ($264m).
Similar trade deals with Peru and Hong Kong were also ratified in the Senate today.
Red Meat Advisory Council chair Don Mackay said the red meat industry applauded the bipartisan support shown ratifying the three trade agreements.
“This trade trifecta represents real opportunities for the Australian supply chain to develop even closer and more stable economic partnerships with long-term trading partners in Indonesia and Hong Kong, as well as opening up new market opportunities in Peru,” he said.
“Access to a broad range of markets is integral to ensuring our industry is able maintain its competitiveness in the challenging global trade environment, as well as maintain profitability particularly when extensive portions of our sector are affected by severe drought conditions.”
“Trading with the world is a top priority for our industry and core to our economic resilience. Implementation of these three trade agreements is perfectly aligned to Red Meat 2030 and is a welcome stimulus in achieving our 2030 ambitions,” Mr Mackay said.
The red meat and livestock industry was a large contributor to jobs in rural and regional Australia, which in turn is largely trade exposed, with six in every ten jobs relying on our ability to trade with the world, he said.
“Indonesia is a vitally important trading partner for the Australian live cattle and beef industry – along with a steady requirement for sheepmeat. Combined, the existing trade was worth over a $1 billion in 2018.”
“The benefits of ratifying the IA-CEPA agreement with Indonesia and securing more trade certainty with this key export market are unsurpassed – particularly at a time of global trade disruption.”
The implementation of the Hong Kong agreement promoted closer economic relationships between Australia and Hong Kong, and would ‘lock in’ Australia’s current duty free access for red meat products, Mr Mackay said.
The PAFTA agreement with Peru would offer new export opportunities for Australian beef, goatmeat and sheepmeat with all tariffs being eliminated within five years, in an environment where the consumption of red meat products is forecast to increase substantially in coming years.