JAKARTA, (Xinhua) Australia on Wednesday said that it has expected the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia to be realized this year, an Indonesian legislator said here.
Airlangga Hartarto, head of parliament's Commission VI focusing on trade, industry and investment said after a meeting with Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson, that for the first time, such CEPA was discussed openly with parliament.
"Australia wants that the CEPA could be concrete this year," Hartarto said.
He said that he has strongly welcomed the discussion with the country. "This is different with other free trade agreements (FTAs) that were signed directly without public socialization," he said.
He also said that the discussion with the parliament is important so that all stakeholders know that the process is ongoing and the commodities could be discussed comprehensively.
According to Hartarto, the discussion also mentioned about trade balance.
"Currently, we have a positive trade balance of 8.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2010. But, if oil and gas were not included, we were in deficit. Therefore, we will increase trade on non oil gas commodities," he said.
Hartarto also said that Indonesia has asked Australia to use standard benchmark on food produced in Indonesia.
"Our food industry, mostly produced by small-medium enterprises, is hard to enter the Australian market. So, we want that the CEPA could include standard on food," he said.
The CEPA was launched by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November 2010.