Indonesia, Australia sign free trade deal

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Jakarta, Mar 5 (UNI) Indonesia and Australia inked a free trade agreement on Monday, after eight years of negotiations and several times of delay.

Indonesia mainly buys sugar from Australia and Indonesia’s major export products to Australia include automotives, textiles and others.

Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Australian Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham signed the economic partnership agreement in Jakarta.

The deal requires ratification by both countries’ parliament before taking affect.

Under the deal, all Indonesia’s products will enjoy zero import tariffs in Australia, while 94 percent of import taxes for Australian products will be gradually removed.

The signing is timely for Indonesian President Joko Widodo who will contest in the presidential race on April 17 for his second term as he aims to drive up exports following a trade deficit of 8.6 billion US dollars last year.

Economic issue has been at the center of focus in Indonesia’s presidential race this year.

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