Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Questions without Notice
Trade with Indonesia
My question is to the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Birmingham. Can the minister outline the benefits of the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and inform the Senate when the agreement will enter into force?
I thank Senator McMahon for her question, knowing that the Northern Territory, in particular, has enormous opportunities from closer relations between Australia and Indonesia. I know that her passion is to see those opportunities realised, so I'm very pleased to inform Senator McMahon and the Senate that, following discussions I had early last week with my Indonesian counterpart, Agus Suparmanto, Indonesia completed last week its domestic ratification procedures and provided formal notification to Australia, which means that the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement will enter into force on 5 July.
Closer economic relations and closer strategic relations between Australia and Indonesia have been long-term objectives for Australian governments of all political persuasions, and do I note, as IA-CEPA heads towards entry into force, the bipartisan support that was offered for the agreement and the legislation enabling it. It is crucial that we see this continued strength and growth in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia and in the trade opportunities that it will create.
The trade opportunities from IA-CEPA are quite real and tangible. Over 99 per cent of Australian goods exported to Indonesia will enter duty-free or under significantly preferential arrangements. This will see some 575,000 live cattle able to enter Indonesia, duty-free, in year one; some 500,000 tonnes of feed grains, including wheat, barley and other grains be able to enter duty-free in year one; up to an estimated 455 semitrailer-load equivalents of oranges able to enter duty-free. Potatoes, carrots, frozen beef, sheepmeat and dairy tariffs, all of them are being reduced, as well as goods such as rolled coil steel to the equivalent of enough to make five Sydney Harbour Bridges each year.
Given the scale of new opportunity created with Indonesia as a large and, we trust, still fast-growing economy once it recovers from the challenges of COVID-19, there has been very warm reaction from Australian farming and other industry representatives. The chairman of GrainGrowers said that access to this new feed grain market is great news and the timing could not be better. We have safe nutritious grains for Australians as well for our closest neighbours.
AUSVEG's national manager of export development said that this should lead to an immediate increase of over 300 per cent in current trade values of current fresh vegetables to Indonesia. The National Farmers Federation said that the entry into force of IA-CEPA provides some much-needed perspective for Australia's farmers, encouraging us to look beyond the present hardships of drought, bushfire and coronavirus to the bright future ahead. The Business Council of Australia said that it will help open new markets, create new jobs and build a stronger recovery for both nations, and that is certainly the government's aspiration to see that strengthened. (Time expired)
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, the latest ABS trade data shows that Australia recently recorded our 27th consecutive monthly trade surplus. Indeed, it was another record trade surplus to the tune of some $10.6 billion. I am pleased to highlight for Senator McMahon's benefit and others from the Northern Territory, that this included a record value of goods exports, and goods exports from the Northern Territory increased in 2019 by some 73 per cent under the policy settings of our government.
During the month of March, we saw strong goods export growth to a of different markets for Australia. There was a 354 per cent increase in goods exports to Hong Kong, a 30 per cent increase to the Republic of Korea, a 96 per cent increase to the United Kingdom and a 51 per cent increase to the United States of America, all this demonstrating that the diversity of opportunities available to Australian exporters continues to grow and they continue to seize those opportunities.