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UK progresses trade talks with Indonesia and Australia

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is making progress on trade links with both Australia and Indonesia. As the UK Government seeks to protect pre-Brexit trade links and build deeper connections with new markets through trade agreements, economic programmes and trade committees. Two new developments have been announced by DIT regarding Asian and Australian markets. Firstly, a new Joint Economic and Trade Committee has been announced between the United Kingdom and Indonesia.

Indonesia is the largest South Asian economy and it is a fellow member of the G20. The first round of exploratory talks concluded on Monday 26th April. Both sides committed to strengthening the £3 billion trade and investment links via a new dialogue. The new Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) will work on addressing trade barriers impeding further trade between UK-Indonesia. Economic cooperation, trade and investment will be expanded through the committee. In advance of these talks, a Joint Trade Review (JTR) was carried out over the last 18 months by both Governments seeking to identify priority sectors and potential trade links.

Nine key areas were identified as priority economic sectors through this JTR including: healthcare and life sciences, education and training, financial and professional services, food and drink, agriculture, renewables and green energy.

“We want to strengthen trade links with like-minded countries like Indonesia who share our belief in democracy and the international rules-based system and help strengthen Global Britain’s dynamic partnerships with ASEAN and Southeast Asia”, said International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The second development announced by DIT relates to a Joint Statement on the progression of UK-Australia free trade agreement talks. On Friday 23rd April, both sides reached consensus on the ‘vast majority’ of elements of a comprehensive free trade agreement. This paves the way forward towards such a deal being sealed as the two negotiating teams are confident that any remaining issues will be resolved and that an agreement could be reached by June. Talks are being led by UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Australia’s Trade Minister Dan Tehan.

Ms. Truss stated that the team will work over the next ‘few weeks ironing out details and resolving outstanding issues’. She called the potential comprehensive trade agreement “a fundamentally liberalising agreement that will support jobs across the country and help us emerge stronger from the pandemic, strengthening ties between two democracies”.


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