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New Zealand, Australia welcome Indonesia move toward free trade area


14:09, November 15, 2011

WELLINGTON, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The trade ministers of Australia and New Zealand Tuesday welcomed moves by Indonesia to be included in an Asia-Pacific free trade area.

Indonesia announced that it had completed domestic procedures to enable the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) to enter into force for Indonesia.

The AANZFTA is already in force for Australia, New Zealand and the other nine ASEAN member countries.

"This means that from Jan. 10, 2012, businesses on both sides of the Tasman will be able to capitalise on the FTA's considerable opportunities for mutually advantageous trade with Indonesia one of our most important trading partners," said New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser in a statement.

"AANZFTA is a high-quality, regional trade agreement that provides benefits to all of its parties," said Groser.

Indonesia was a major emerging economy with the world's fourth largest population and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, accounting for more than a third of ASEAN's GDP.

It was expected to be one of the world's top 10 economies by 2030.

"Indonesia's importance to Australia and New Zealand will only grow," said Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson in the statement.

ASEAN's total trade with Australia and New Zealand was just under 90 billion AU dollars (91.57 billion U.S. dollars) last year.

Both ministers in the statement urged their business communities to actively pursue opportunities presented under the FTA.

By 2015, Australian and New Zealand exporters would receive tariff-free treatment in Indonesia on more than 90 percent of tariff items, compared with only 11 percent now, said the statement.

"AANZFTA will also give greater certainty to Australian and New Zealand investors and services suppliers in Indonesia," said Emerson.

The AANZFTA was part of Australia and New Zealand's drive towards growth in trade through achieving more open markets and closer regional economic integration, said the statement.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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