National

Trade tops PM’s agenda in Indonesia

By AAP Newswire

Scott Morrison has assured Indonesian President Joko Widodo that Australia is on track to hold up its end of a trade deal reached between the two countries.

The prime minister met the president in Jakarta on Sunday ahead of Mr Widodo's inauguration for his second term in power.

The 15-minute meeting at the presidential palace was characterised as very positive, and included discussion about Mr Widodo's planned visit to Australia in 2020.

"He has been an extraordinary friend of Australia," Mr Morrison told reporters in Jakarta after the meeting.

The talks had a strong focus on trade, with each side updating their progress on ratifying the new bilateral agreement.

Mr Morrison said he and his ministers have had tremendous engagement with their Indonesian counterparts in recent times, working through how to encourage greater Australian investment in Indonesia.

"The IA-CEPA, in particular, has some very big components that deal with skills transfer and education opportunities and we're looking forward to those being realised by Australian universities up here in Indonesia," he said.

He spruiked the trade opportunities at a barbecue lunch with business leaders from the Indonesian Employers' Association, Indonesia-Australia Business Council and the local community, and officials from the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Morrison government introduced legislation enacting this Indonesia-Australia trade deal to parliament last week and it will be debated in the lower house on Monday.

The prime minister expects that to pass quickly and head to the Senate when it next sits in mid-November.

Labor has indicated it will support the deal - despite pressure from unions which oppose the deal - although it is seeking some tweaks which Trade Minister Simon Birmingham expects can be accommodated.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said it offered enormous opportunities for Australian businesses and workers.

"It is important that we have a good relationship with our neighbour to the north in Indonesia," he told reporters in Sydney.

"There are enormous economic advantages we will have as Indonesia grows into the future."

Mr Morrison said Mr Widodo gave similar assurances that the Indonesian ratification was on track.

They also discussed the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership ahead of trade ministers meeting for negotiations in November.

"We're very keen to try and bring this together this year and that's something that Indonesia also shares as an objective," Mr Morrison said.

"We're hopeful of some good progress at that meeting in November."

Sunday's talks also touched on bilateral co-operation on security issues, including the return of foreign fighters from Syria, trilateral co-operation along with India, the treatment of people in West Papua, and Mr Widodo's plans to relocate the Indonesian capital to Borneo island.

"We discussed the fact that not far from where this site is ... is actually where my grandfather served out the last part of his time in the Second World War," Mr Morrison said.

After meeting the president, Mr Morrison held formal talks with Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan and officials.

Mr Wang said China's leader Xi Jinpeng had authorised the meeting and his government attached "very high importance" to it.

"I think the joint message that we send to the media and the public is that parties attach high importance to this relationship," he said.

The prime minister also met the Sultan of Brunei, who complimented Australia's strong performance in the Rugby World Cup, apparently unaware of Saturday's quarter-final loss.