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Australia-Indonesia free trade deal very close

Staff Writer | December 29, 2017
A long-awaited free trade agreement between Australia and Indonesia is imminent, the Australian government said on Friday.
Steven Ciobo
Asia Pacific   A long-awaited free trade agreement
The two countries began negotiations in March with any deal expected to be finalized by November.

Having missed that deadline, authorities from both sides were optimistic it would be concluded before the end of December but negotiations will now continue into 2018.

Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo said despite being "very close", he was no longer willing to put a deadline on the deal.

"The number one priority right now is to conclude the Indonesia free trade agreement," Ciobo told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.

"We know our trade and economic relationship with Indonesia is underweight given the relative significance of both Indonesia's and Australia's economies."

"Like any trade deal, much of the work is done and we're getting very close to the end now, but like always, the most difficult components are left till last."

"But look, there's very goodwill on both sides... we just need to bed down these last few issues," the minister said.