Wednesday March 6, 2019: Dr Patricia Ranald's article in The Conversation explains that the new Indonesia - Australia Comprehensive Partnership Agreement has no independent assessment of costs and benefits. There are no chapters committing both governments to United Nations standards for labour rights and the environment to prevent a race to the bottom. But it does have a chapter allowing foreign investors to sue governments if the investor can argue that a new law or policy has harmed their investment (ISDS). And it greatly increases the number of working holiday visas to be issued to Indonesian workers despite the evidence that many of these workers face grave exploitation in Australia. All of these issues contradict the new Labor Party trade policy.
Media Release March 4, 2019 ; “The Indonesia FTA has been signed without any public scrutiny of the text and without any independent assessment of its overall costs and benefits,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
January 9, 2019: A decision by the Indonesian Constitutional Court on November 22, 2018, has found that the Indonesian President cannot approve trade agreements without presenting them to the House of Representatives for approval. All such agreements will need to be reviewed.
September 3, 2018: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo have announced the completion of talks for an FTA but as usual we won’t see the text until after it is signed in two months’ time, and the text can’t be changed.
March 20, 2018: Indonesia has initiated a WTO dispute alleging that Australia’s anti-dumping tariffs on Indonesian A4 copy paper break WTO rules, which allow anti-dumping measures if exports are priced below their real costs of production. This may delay the conclusion of the Indonesia-Australia FTA.
December 12, 2017: Fairfax Media has reported that there is ‘growing doubt’ that the Indonesia Australia free trade agreement (Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Agreement or IA CEPA) will be finalised by the end of the year, as intended. Australian and Indonesian trade ministers will meet again in Argentina this week, after failing to conclude negotiations last month in Jakarta.
March 6, 2017: Indonesia is pushing for Australia to import more palm oil and paper products as negotiations for a bilateral deal continue.
28 February 2017: The Australian Government is pushing to finish negotiations for the free trade deal with Indonesia “as early as August”. While business groups are directly involved, there has been little communication with community groups.