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Scott Morrison to travel to Jakarta to announce Australia-Indonesia free trade deal is imminent

Scott Morrison to travel to Jakarta to announce Australia-Indonesia free trade deal is imminent Email Scott Morrison to travel to Jakarta...

Scott Morrison to travel to Jakarta to announce Australia-Indonesia free trade deal is imminent

Email Scott Morrison to travel to Jakarta to announce Australia-Indonesia free trade deal is imminent

Updated August 26, 2018 17:42:59

Side view of Scott Morrison speaking against a dark backdrop, hands gesturing, looking serious. Photo: Scott Morrison became Australia's 30th Prime Minister after a week of in-fighting and speculation. (ABC News: Jed Cooper) Related Story: Liberal leadership chaos could jeopardise landmark Australia-Indonesia free trade deal Related Story: Trade deal with Indonesia 'very close& #039; despite setbacks Related Story: Indonesia and Australia push to seal 'win, win' trade deal as deadline looms Map: Indonesia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will make his first trip overseas less than a week after being sworn in, flying to Jakarta to announce Australia and Indonesia are on the brink of signing a free trade deal.

Key points:

  • The PM is set to announce Australia and Indonesia have reached an in-principle free trade agreement
  • The free trade deal is expected to be officially signed later this year
  • There have been no details announced as to the scope of the agreement

Officials resolved a deadlock over the free trade agreement during recent negotiations in Melbourne, opening the way for the deal to be signed in September or October this year.

Malcolm Turnbull had been planning to travel to Indonesia this comi ng week to make the announcement, but the leadership turmoil in Canberra threw those plans into chaos.

Government officials predicted on Friday that Mr Morrison would be unlikely to go to Jakarta so soon after taking office, and fretted that delaying the announcement might aggravate the Indonesian Government.

But the ABC understands the new Prime Minister will now head to Indonesia on Thursday for a brief visit.

Barring last-minute shocks, he is expected to announce the two nations have reached an in-principle agreement on a free trade deal, and declare the relationship between the countries will soon reach new heights.

Malcolm Turnbull shakes hands with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Photo: Malcolm Turnbull was due to m eet Indonesian President Joko Widodo next week. (AAP: Lauren Farrow)

Australia and Indonesia originally hoped to strike a deal before the end of last year, but the deadline has slipped.

The prospect of a further delay would have caused anxiety in Jakarta. The Indonesian rupiah has been falling, and the Government hopes the announcement will help boost the currency in international markets.

Meanwhile, Australia hopes the deal will bolster the strategic relationship between Canberra and Jakarta, while also boosting economic ties.

While Australia has been pushing for a "high quality" free trade agreement, officials have been forced to narrow the ambition of the deal because of strong protectionist forces in Indonesia.

It is not yet clear what concessions have been made by both sides, or what the scope of the agreement will be.

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo smiles at his Indonesian counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita. Photo: Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo met with his counterpart Enggartiasto Lukita in Jakarta last September. (Twitter: Steven Ciobo)

Mr Turnbull had also been planning to travel to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, where he was due to meet top leaders and officials.

But it now appears that those legs of the trip have been abandoned.

Mr Turnbull was due to finish his overseas trip by attending the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru â€" but it is not clear who will now represent Australia at that meeting.

Topics: foreign-affairs, government-and-politics, trade, international-aid-and-trade, business-economics-and-finance, scott-morrison, indonesia, asia, australia

First posted August 26, 2018 17:24:49

Contact Stephen Dziedzic

Source: Google News Indonesia | Netizen 24 Indonesia

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