In the visit last week Mr Burke said his country was interested in developing and investing in the Indonesian agricultural sector.
“Australia recognises the challenges faced by agricultural producers in Indonesia and will continue to provide capacity building to assist in developing its agriculture sector,” he said in a press release from the Australian embassy.
“We see possible benefits for Australian horticulture producers. We’re also keen to encourage Australian investment in the agriculture sector in Indonesia.”
An FTA with Australia is a popular idea among Indonesia’s fresh produce importers, who have seen supplies from Australia drop markedly over the last few years as tariffs and a high exchange rate priced Australian produce out of reach.
Indonesia already has an FTA with ASEAN, whose exports into the country face an average tariff of just 2.7 per cent, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian imports, however, have an average tariff of 9.5 per cent, going as high as 20 per cent for some products.
Speaking to Asiafruit Magazine last week, Indonesian importer Hendry Sim of Laris Manis Utama said an FTA with Australia could only help the country’s produce.
“We have an FTA with China, Thailand, Vietnam and a number of others, but there’s still a barrier on Australia,” he noted. “If Australia joins in an FTA it would very good. I would especially sell more Australian grapes.”
The Australian visit to Indonesia also included representatives from Meat and Livestock Australia, the Cattle Council of Australia, Australian Livestock Exporters Council and the Australian Citrus Growers.