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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 10:35 AM | 02-03-2015

Australian minister shelves trade trip to Indonesia

An Australian business delegation to Indonesia led by Trade Minister Andrew Robb planned for this month has been quietly shelved amid escalating tensions between the countries ahead of the executions, The Age reported on Monday (2 March 2015).

Major events at the largest Indonesian festival in Australia -- INDOfest -- have also been postponed because of fears that a family fun day would be seen as insensitive and incongruous.

And Australian firms are delaying doing business with Indonesia due to uncertainty about any post-execution fallout, such as embargoes or the recalling of the Australian ambassador.

Last year Mr Robb said one of his goals as trade minister would be to make Indonesia one of Australia’s top 10 trading partners.

Austrade CEO Bruce Gosper told a conference in December that Mr Robb would lead a trade delegation to Indonesia in March.

However that has now been put on ice.

A spokeswoman for Mr Robb’s office said the minister intended leading a business mission to Indonesia this year at an “appropriate time.”

“At this point no dates have been locked in,” she said. “Strengthening Australia’s economic relationship with Indonesia remains an important priority.”

Australia Indonesia Business Council president Debnath Guharoy said the executions were not “helpful” as far as business was concerned.

“As I understand it, because of the current state of affairs it would not be an appropriate time for the minister to visit and talk business,” Mr Guharoy said.

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