Australia’s newly appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit Indonesia today to announce a new free trade agreement between the two neighbours, although the actual deal won’t be signed until a later date. The agreement resumed negotiations in 2016, after being stalled since 2010, and will see an Australian university opening in Indonesia, and the relaxation of rules regarding beef imports to Indonesia.
A trade deal is an easy way for Australia and Indonesia to begin improving ties, despite their rocky relationship. The agreement is projected to encourage the development of a future strategic partnership between the new neighbours, as their trade increases from $16.4 billion.
Expect Jakarta to raise the stakes of the agreement and for Morrison to agree to them. As a newly appointed official under unpopular circumstances, Morrison will need to bolster support for his new cabinet through the success of this Free Trade Agreement. Morrison can’t afford to hamper the success of the six-year-stalled agreement that former Prime Minister Turnbull brokered before the next federal election—which could be called anytime between now and November 2019.
Sophie provides analysis on issues on politics and strategy, with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific.