Doorstop with Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita and Investment Coordinating Board Chair Thomas Lembong
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: We just finished the breakfast meeting with the… (inaudible), We just had a chat, the breakfast meeting Minister – there are some points that we agree to continue in focusing for the next is vocational, vocational training right?
THOMAS LEMBONG: Yes, correct.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Vocational training. As you know that Australia has very good in some areas like agriculture and then cattle and so many things. So, we are going to work together with Australia and we are also agree with the timetable that we agree to fix the schedule. There is no change with the schedule. So we are focusing on increasing cooperation with Australia. As it is known that the President is giving directives to vocational school and also there is an agreement for graduates to work – a minimum to do job-training in Australia, for their improvement or create employment there so we can complement each other's needs. And also the infrastructure there, cooperation here because they are also very good and experienced at that. And who would like to ask? Excellency?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well thank you very much Minister Lukita, and thank you very much to Tom Lembong, the former Trade Minister. It's good for me to be here with the two of you and for us to have shared this morning's breakfast meeting. For me as Australia's Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister, I wanted to make sure that my first trade related travel in a new government was here to Indonesia. The reason why I've made this a priority is because from an Australian perspective, successfully concluding the Indonesia-Australia CEPA is a key priority and in fact the most significant priority that I have as Australia's Trade Minister. This morning we were able to do some very good work together. We had a broad ranging conversation and shared our aspirations around what Indonesia and Australia would be able to achieve together. We are all committed to as comprehensive a free trade agreement as possible. We recognise there are so many areas where the Indonesian economy and the Australian economy can work together for the benefit of both Indonesia and Australia. From my perspective – that is from the Australian perspective – we have seen great evidence of where we're able to take our relationship from strength to strength. I think the relationship between Indonesia and Australia as a friendship is very strong, but our economic relationship is not as strong as it could be. We share an aspiration to make that economic relationship even stronger in the future. This morning we had the chance to recommit to the successful conclusion of the Indonesian-Australia CEPA in 18 months or thereabouts. We're both going to work very hard, supported by our public servants, to secure this agreement. We're both very committed on the benefits that will flow. From an Australian perspective I see great complementarities or great opportunities where Australia Indonesia can work together. If I look at, for example, education: Australia offers a rich tertiary and vocational education experience. By working together with the initiatives of the Indonesian Government, I'm very confident that we can achieve a win-win outcome where Australia is able to provide services and support around tertiary education and vocational education, which of course is of benefit for Indonesia and helps to build Indonesia's skill base. Likewise we see, for example, in relation to infrastructure, opportunities where Indonesia and the very strong agenda the Indonesian Government has to promote Indonesian prosperity through investment and infrastructure. I'm confident that Australia has learnt lessons and has skills that we can share together with Indonesia that's going to be good for Australia and good for Indonesia on infrastructure. We also see close working and close collaboration in the private sector. I'm very mindful of some of the great initiatives that we've seen for example where Indonesian students are able to travel to Darwin and to actually spend time – six, twelve weeks, working on Australian cattle properties. That's a great private sector initiative. It's one that helps to boost skills training and on-the-job training for Indonesian students in Australia. It's good for Indonesia, it's good for Australia and it just represents the goodwill between Australia and Indonesia – not only at government but also at a business-to-business, private sector-to-private sector level. So we want to build off these strong trading blocks, and I'm very confident together with the Minister and Mr Lembong, that we will be able to do that together. So, I will look forward to working closely with you both. Terrific. Thank you.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Thank you.
STEVEN CIOBO: Thank you.
REPORTER: There have been indications that the Indonesian government doesn't want to be so reliant on Australian beef, that they're willing to import buffalo from India for instance. What is going to happen in relation to the Australian beef market? Very concerning for Australian farmers of course.
STEVEN CIOBO: Well I can only say that the conversation that we've had this morning indicates that Indonesia and Australia will work closely together. In relation to beef cattle, Australia unfortunately, several years ago, I think made a very politically misguided decision when we stopped live cattle exports. The Government that I'm a member of has worked to restore that relationship and we've taken it forward together strongly. So, I'm very confident that we'll be able to continue to work to the mutual interests of both Australia and Indonesia into the future.
REPORTER: Minister, one of the things that has been discussed is whether or not Australian universities could operate in Indonesia in special economic zones. Is that something your government would like to see?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Yes starting with vocational, universities and any stages of the education.
REPORTER: And where would they operate?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Well, we can work out together when we do start.
THOMAS LEMBONG: You have to ask them too, right? We cannot force them to go somewhere – I think it has to be private sector driven also.
REPORTER: But, Indonesia would look at allowing this? At the moment it's prohibited under law but you would look at changing that to allow them?
THOMAS LEMBONG: Yes.
REPORTER: Sir, the projections of the meat for Eid al-Adha, how much, sir?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: The simplest market law is supply and demand. We will know exactly when we sit down with the Minister of Agriculture and we consider the BPS data, what our actual needs are which is the two things that Bapak President requested, society, stable prices and secondly, we also have to improve the economy of our society and we cannot harm it, we have to find a solution and there is definitely a solution. So, we certainly have domestic needs that we need to fulfil, from anywhere and of course the priority is domestic. But we cannot close our eyes and we have to be realistic about all of it.
REPORTER: Before, Minister Ciobo said he was very optimistic that the Australia-Indonesia CEPA could be completed in eighteen months.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Yes we are also optimistic, we have Pak Tom. We're optimistic. Optimistic, we always have to be optimistic, why not for this.
THOMAS LEMBONG: Minister Enggar is too kind, I'm very touched and optimistic as well because the changes in the Trade Ministry went very well, very smoothly, and a lot of us are friends. I have also promised the Minister to continue to help out. Coincidentally, Minister Ciobo is the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. As he's also the Minister for Investment, so it's good, we're quite lucky because both trade and investment fall under Minister Ciobo, so for the Trade Minister and I to work together for CEPA Australia is very natural, and so I too am very optimistic.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: It is impossible for us to stabilise prices without any investment, and there will definitely be a lot of interdependence. And one thing which makes it easier for me is the sincerity in giving and opening the space fully, so that's one thing. Well, I'm coming from a different perspective, positive political science.
REPORTER: Sorry Sir, when did the 18 months commence?
THOMAS LEMBONG: March.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: March? Since March.
REPORTER: March of this year?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Yes
REPORTER: How soon could a deal be done? I mean what's your timetable at this stage?
STEVEN CIOBO: Well, as I said at the outset we're working to the timetable of 18 months. We formally recommenced discussions in March of this year and I'm hopeful that by the middle to end of next year we'll successfully conclude this agreement.
REPORTER: Minister, Australian cattle producers have often asked for annual quotas rather than the current trimester quotas. Is that something that your government will look at doing so that they have more certainty?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Certainty in…
THOMAS LEMBONG: Quotas.
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Quotas right?
REPORTER: Annual quotas for cattle
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Yes, we calculate – how much is it the figures, because we have to get the data and evaluate the data, how much we can have from Australia.
REPORTER: So that's something you are looking at introducing? Annual quotas?
ENGGARTIASTO LUKITA: Annual quotas? Yes, yes we are going to see re: quotas.