AIBCnews: Issue 194 - May / June 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

As we enter the second half on 2021, significant challenges persist in getting on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, as dangerous new variants make a significant impact in both countries. Some countries who have made greater progress with vaccination programs are opening up again and easing restrictions, however it is yet to be seen if this will successful or be found to be premature.

Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Hon Dan Tehan MP, was due in Jakarta this week as part of a series of international engagements, but due to the escalating COVID-19 situation across Indonesia, this visit was unfortunately cancelled. The planned visit had been on track to coincide with the first anniversary of the entry into force of IA-CEPA on 5 July, and also with the launch of the IA-CEPA ECP Katalis (Katalis) Program, the Federally funded Economic Cooperation Program that underpins Australia’s commitment to the successful implementation of the Agreement; Katalis was itself launched on 6 July 2021 at the Economic, Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting (ETIMM) between Australia and Indonesia.

Economic, Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting (ETIMM) between Australia’s Treasurer Hon Josh Frydenberg MP and Trade Minister Hon Dan Tehan MP together with Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto and BAPPENAS Minister Suharso Monoarfa (also with Ambassador Kristiarto Legowo and Ambassador-designate Penny Williams)


Following the cancellation of our biennial Conference in Darwin last November due to COVID-19, AIBC is launching plans for a one-day Conference in Darwin to be held on 1 November this year. This event themed “Connect Darwin”, which will proceed only in accordance with any COVID-19 limitations at the time, will be held in conjunction with the Northern Territory Government, and focus on a number of key sectors. Some further details can be found elsewhere in this newsletter.

In another key collaboration with the Government of Victoria, AIBC’s National Food and Agriculture Group has been awarded a Grant, under the Global Victoria Trade Alliance Program, to deliver a series of information sharing gatherings and facilitated discussion sessions to assist Victorian exporters into the Indonesian market. We look forward very much to delivering this Program and thank Global Victoria for their support.

As another casualty of COVID-19, this past month saw the cessation of Garuda services to Melbourne and Perth, and the reduction to a single weekly service between Jakarta and Sydney. A number of our Members have expressed deep disappointment about this, and AIBC has met with Garuda to offer support, and convey our hope for their future and an early return to more regular services. This reduction in services comes against a major restructure that Garuda is embarking on.

Our National Board was delighted recently to meet virtually with Ambassador-designate Penny Williams, in a two-way update and exchange of ideas. In “normal” times, the AIBC would have taken part in pre-posting consultations with any incoming Ambassador, however the peculiarities of COVID-19 have meant that any face-to-face meetings will have to wait until travel permits.

As we start the new Membership year, we thank all our Members who have re-joined and encourage those who are yet to act to do so. Your support is critical to our success on behalf of our Members, and in the broader National Interest, particularly as we seek to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Renewals and new Memberships can be actioned on our website here.

To continue reading the May / June 2021 issue, please click here.