The Jakarta Post
As their deadline approaches, trade delegates from Indonesia and Australia work to settle several crucial points, including market access and manpower flow issues, in the ninth negotiation round of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA), which kicked off on Monday.
Both countries have agreed to conclude the deal in the next round in November, earlier than their official December target.
Indonesia’s chief negotiator, Deddy Saleh, said various chapters and provisions of the agreement had been completed, but not those on market access for some goods and manpower in certain sectors.Read also: Indonesian herbicide, pesticide products to enjoy zero tariffs entering Oz market
“There are still several issues under discussion, especially related to market access in services and goods,” he told The Jakarta Post.
“Apparently, [those services and goods] are sensitive for both countries. Should there be no progress, we should of course find a middle way,” he said.
Indonesia is demanding better market access for its textile, footwear and automotive products with lower tariffs, as well as a greater manpower flow of local expertise in agriculture and healthcare into Australia through simpler procedures.
Australia, meanwhile, has requested lower tariffs for cold rolled steel, skimmed milk powder, beef and cattle, and majority ownership of its investment in education, healthcare and tourism in Indonesia.
IA-CEPA negotiations started in 2010 but stopped midway, then was reactivated in March 2016. It covers various chapters, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, e-commerce, competition policy, economic cooperation, and institutional and framework provisions. (bbn)