AIBC News - Issue 155, March 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

If the chemistry between President Widodo and Prime Minister Turnbull is any yardstick, the bilateral relationship is in good shape. Two men from very different backgrounds, united by their pragmatic desire to do business, have visibly taken a shine to each other. That is good news indeed. Privileged to watch them at close quarters over the last few weeks, their words herald a new beginning for this up-and-down relationship.

Actions speak louder than words. The President came to Sydney for a busy working weekend, with the meeting of leaders, the chat with CEOs and even the morning walk producing results. The Governor-General added his support to the rekindling of ties, with
a 21-gun salute and the ADF band doing the honours in style. To add to the momentum, the Prime Minister went FIFO for a day in Jakarta barely 10 days later. IORA and IABW crammed in to a whistle-stop tour deserves more than the loud claps he received. But it is the signed agreement for closer military cooperation, the announcement of lowered barriers for their pesticides and chemicals as well as our cattle and sugarcane that augurs well. Significant steps taken in the right direction. The two leaders have their closest aides singing off the same sheet: Trade Minister Lukita, BKPM Chairman Lembong and TTI Minister Ciobo are all putting a great deal of positive pressure on the two negotiating teams.  To continue reading the March edition, please click here.