Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita (R) and his Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham. (Source: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) –
Indonesia and Australia signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) in Jakarta on March 4.

Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and his Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham wrapped up the multi-billion-dollar agreement after nine years of negotiations.

The pact will help improve access for Australian livestock farmers to the Indonesian market of 260 million people, while Australian universities and health providers will also benefit from easier entry into Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

Meanwhile, greater access to the Australian market is expected to spur Indonesia's automotive and textile industries, and boost exports of wood, electronics and medicine.

Bilateral trade reached 11.7 billion USD in 2017. Indonesia is now the 13th biggest trading partner of Australia.

Both ministers described the deal as a tool to tighten the bilateral relations.

Minister Birmingham said the pact marks a new chapter for cooperation between Australia and Indonesia, bringing the two Asian-Pacific countries closer together than ever before.

For his part, Minister Lukita said the IA-CEPA could transform the two economies.

Indonesia and Australia started negotiations on the IA-CEPA in 2010.-VNA