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Ai Group welcomes signing today of Indonesia Australia economic partnership agreement

"Ai Group congratulates Ministers Lukita and Birmingham for the successful conclusion today of the free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia," Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said today.

Mr Willox, who is in Indonesia for the signing and spoke on behalf of Australian business at the event, said; "It takes two to trade. You can't have a buyer without a seller or an exporter without an importer, it has to be a partnership. That is why the name of this agreement, the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, is more than a title, it aptly describes the ongoing cooperative partnership that will be forged between our two business communities.

"Australian investors are valued for their commitment to staff development and safe workplaces, and value their investments in Indonesia for the opportunities it gives them to add value to their products and services locally and for the huge market opportunities. The guarantees for Australian investment under IACEPA will encourage more Australian companies to explore their options and to make the leap into Indonesia.

"The Indonesia-Australia Business Partnership Group (IABPG) set the tone for the agreement, bringing Australian and Indonesian business together to develop solutions that would bring us closer and make it easier for businesses large and small to work together.

"We are pleased to see one of the IABPG's early suggestions, a skills exchange, come to fruition in the Indonesia-Australia Skills Development Exchange Pilot Project as part of the overall IACEPA package. This outcome, in direct response to a suggestion from the IABPG, will deepen the relationship between citizens, companies and the two countries. Ai Group members will have special access to this program.

"For the first time Australia and Indonesia will guarantee the free flow of 'data' or 'information' across borders for service suppliers and investors as part of their business activities. This 'movement of information' or 'data flow' is relevant to all kinds of Australian businesses – from a manufacturer with offshore sales offices and online order systems to a telecommunications company providing data management services to businesses in both countries.

"Worldwide data flows are the railways of the future and as such their value lies not in the country that holds the data but rather in how far that data can stretch across the globe. Countries that collaborate and share information and reject isolationism will be the ultimate winners.

"This agreement is truly comprehensive and covers agriculture and manufacturing, services and investment. It lays a foundation to realise the economic potential of our partnership and Ai Group thanks and congratulates the negotiators and officials for their efforts in securing a successful outcome," Mr Willox said.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347