Doorstop - Coca-Cola Amatil Indonesia
STEVEN CIOBO: Thank you. It's an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to visit the Coca-Cola Amatil plant here. It's an opportunity to see the benefit that flows from Australian investment abroad; another example of where Australian investment is helping to produce jobs, but also helping to provide income back to Australia. We know that as a public company, CC Amatil has of course superannuation investments as well as direct private investments of many thousands, if not millions, of Australians. It is an example of what can be achieved by working together; a great example of Australian foreign investment abroad. To know that there has been something like $US1.5 billion invested into this plant so that it is contributing back to the bottom line of Australian business which in turn is feeding back into Australian superannuation accounts and others is a real demonstration of the way in which through these trade and investment deals we're able to produce good outcomes and win-win situations. So happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: Maybe just on Aceh, have you got any comments to make?
STEVEN CIOBO: Look, of course we send our condolences to the people of Indonesia. What's happened overnight, the loss of life is always distressing, and Australia stands ready to provide whatever assistance we could possibly provide.
JOURNALIST: In terms of the FTA, what would it mean for a company like this if the FTA was signed next year as planned?
STEVEN CIOBO: We want to make sure that the trade deal between Australia and Indonesia is ambitious. We want a trade deal that is going to produce a win-win outcome; good for Indonesia; good for Australia. For me as Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, an opportunity to really grow opportunities for investment in both countries and to drive trade between both countries. And, that's ultimately going to help with economic growth, it's going to help with jobs, it's going to help with consumers having access to a broader variety of products in both countries as well.
JOURNALIST: What about sugar, given that sugar is a main ingredient here and sugar has always been a problem with FTAs in the past. Will sugar be on the table here? I mean will the Indonesian allow sugar to be part of this FTA?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well we continue discussions with Indonesia. Australia obviously believes there is a lot of merit in Indonesia having as competitive a sugar market as possible. Sugar is an important export for Australia - it is of course an important ingredient for many consumer goods in Indonesia. Australian sugar exporters currently face a higher tariff barrier than other sugar exporters throughout the region. I want to make sure that if we possibly can, we can reduce that tariff barrier for Australian sugar so we can help to export more Australian sugar which is great for economic growth and Australian jobs. But, also good for Indonesia because it means they've got a cheaper business input for many of these consumer goods.
JOURNALIST: So trade agreements, discussions, negotiations have a habit of slipping away into the never-never; the horizon gets further and further away. Are you confident of signing this FTA next year?
STEVEN CIOBO: Australia and Indonesia have a really ambitious time frame that we have outlined for an agreement in terms of the Indonesia-Australia trade relationship that we are hoping to achieve. We announced in March of this year that we commenced or re-commenced formal negotiations. We hope to conclude those negotiations in 12 to 18 months which puts us on track for the middle to the end of next year. So, a very ambitious time frame in which to be able to reach agreement on such a comprehensive trade deal. But, I'm very confident given the strong goodwill on both sides that we'll be able to achieve it.
JOURNALIST: And with the current pessimism around the world in terms of multi-lateral trade agreements that seem to be slipping away, and the outcome of Brexit, how crucial is an FTA with Indonesia, as a stepping stone and an indicator to other countries that this is the way forward for free trade?
STEVEN CIOBO: The trade and investment relationship between Indonesia and Australia is nowhere near as strong as it should be given our geographic proximity, given the relative affluence of the Australian market and the numbers in the Indonesian market, there is real potential to be able to drive this trade and investment relationship much further and that's part of the reason I'm so focussed on doing a high quality trade deal with Indonesia. It's going to be great for Australian exporters, great for Australian jobs; it's going to be good for Indonesia as well because I believe in win-win outcomes and that's what I'm focused on. So forging ahead with a high quality trade deal with Indonesia is just another example of the Coalition Government being focused on producing good quality outcomes for Australia and for Australian workers.
JOURNALIST: And would you urge other countries in the region to not give up on things like RCEP and other multi-lateral deals and to try and forge ahead?
STEVEN CIOBO: If you look around the world you see that there is in Australia a very forward-looking approach when it comes to trade. We know that liberalised trade has helped to underpin economic growth even in terms of today's GDP figures. We know that export growth has been a crucial component of helping to drive the Australian economy. I believe that the Asian regional generally appreciates that trade and engagement with the world is crucial to higher living standards in the future and that's a point of contrast in some respects to other parts of the world where they have adopted a more protectionist approach. I want to make sure that Australia continues to be a lighthouse about the benefits of liberalised trade which provide higher job opportunities and higher economic growth as well.
JOURNALIST: What is your focus in the relationship between Indonesia and Australia? What sector is your focus for next year?
STEVEN CIOBO: I think the best opportunity for us is to have as comprehensive and broad-based agreement as possible. I don't believe in picking particular sectors as winners. I want to make sure that we provide the opportunity for all sectors to flourish and we know that by making it comprehensive and broad-based and by making it involve goods and services as well as investment, we can produce a win-win outcome which is good for Indonesia and good for Australia.
JOURNALIST: How about the tourism industry between Indonesia and Australia?
STEVEN CIOBO: There are a lot of Australians who love coming to Indonesia. Australians are particularly fond, of course, of Bali. But, it is more than Bali. It's a number of regions throughout Indonesia which attracts more than 1 million Australians every year. Australia is certainly keen to attract more Indonesian tourists to consider coming and holidaying in Australia as well. I think if we work together we will be able to ensure that the people-to-people links between our two countries go from strength to strength. Thanks everybody.