Indonesia details Australia, New Zealand tariff cuts

Thursday, Feb 26, 2009
JAKARTA, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Indonesia has agreed to cut import tariffs on range of products from Australia and New Zealand starting this year as part of a wider free-trade agreement with Southeast Asian nations, Trade Minister Mari Pangestu said on Wednesday. Indonesia will scrap import duties on aluminium, cotton, animal feed, salt and wheat flour from Australia, Pangestu said. "Indonesian products will include footwear and textiles which are still subject to high import tariffs," she said. Textiles from Indonesia are subject to 5-17.5 percent import duties in Australia and between 7.75-19 percent in New Zealand. Other Indonesian products that Australia had agreed to scrap the import duty on included furniture, paper, iron ore and timber, she said. The ten-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expected to sign a free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand during their annual summit in Thailand this weekend. Under the ASEAN-Australian-New Zealand Free Trade area, Australia will scrap 80.7 percent tariff lines of Indonesian products between 2009 and 2010, Pangestu said. In the same period, New Zealand would scrap 79.8 percent of tariff lines on Indonesian products. In return, Indonesia will scrap 85.2 percent tariff lines on imports from Australia and New Zealand between 2009-2014, Pangestu said. "Australia will also give commitment to lower import duties on 25 automotive products faster that its commitment to Malaysia and Thailand," Pangestu said. Indonesia, in return will also scrap 240 out of 1,409 tariff lines in automotive industry, she said. Indonesia posted a trade surplus of $188.28 million with Australia in January-October 2008, while recording a trade deficit $149.46 million with New Zealand in the same period, according to government data.

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