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New Free Trade Deal Will Allow Australian Universities to Set Up Campuses in Indonesia

Australian universities are expected to get the green light to start setting up campuses in Indonesia under a new free trade deal.

Scott Morrison will make his first overseas trip as prime minister to Jakarta at the end of the week to announce, with Indonesian president Joko Widodo, that negotiations, first launched in 2010 and reactivated in 2016, have been finalised.

The trade deal is expected to be officially signed at trade minister level in September or October.

Australia is likely to ratify the deal by the end of the year but Indonesia’s parliament is expected to approve it by mid next year.

A senior Indonesian government official said in the next three to five years he expects a dramatic uptick in the trade of goods and services while it could take longer for an investment bounce.

“I think it’s going to be a game changer,” he told the Guardian Australia.

There is momentum building in Indonesia towards opening up its university sector to foreign institutions and Australian education providers are likely to get a head start under the deal.

“By inviting international universities to Indonesia they become much more accessible to a much larger number of Indonesians. We don’t want an international education to only be available to the rich,” he said.

He said other big winners included Australian luxury yacht builders as the archipelago pushes to expand its maritime tourism sector. Under the deal import duties on Australian yachts and boats will be eliminated.

The deal will also increase the quota of working visas to Australia for Indonesians despite the fact the existing allocation is under used.

The government official doesn’t expect any implementation problems from Indonesia’s end.

Source: The Guardian

Photo courtesy of AAP

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