On 19 March AIIA NSW hosted a round-table discussion with a visiting delegation from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s Centre for Policy Analysis and Development on American and European region. The group comprised Dr Ben Perkasa Drajat, Head of the Centre, Mr Arsi Firdausy, Mr I Made Wardhana, and Ms Arshie Ramadhani, accompanied by Hermanus Dimara and Joanne Hajjar from the Indonesian Consulate-General in Sydney.
The meeting was opened by AIIA NSW president Ian Lincoln. AIIA NSW participants were vice-president Thom Dixon, immediate past president Richard Broinowski and councillors Chris Khatouki, Ciara Morris, Andrew Ritchie, Nicole King, Michael Nguyen and Glen Robinson.
Discussion began with a comparison of Australia’s and Indonesia’s regional policies, with comments on China’s increasing strategic reach into the region and the impact of US-China trade policy issues on the Pacific. Concern was expressed by both sides about a declining commitment to international trade law.
Indonesian delegation members were particularly interested in Pacific regional trade arrangements. They emphasised the objective of expanding Indonesia’s trade ties, in particular with South America and Africa.
In this context the delegation was interested in Australia’s status and experience with the Pacific Alliance free trade agreement, in which Australia is an associate country. The Indonesian delegation was interested in the importance Australia places on the Pacific Alliance and what lessons Indonesia can learn from Australia.
The Pacific Alliance is made up of four full members countries: Peru, Mexico, Chile and Columbia; four associate countries, Canada, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia; and 54 observer countries, including Indonesia.
From left: Thom Dixon, Hermanus Dimara, Dr Ben Perkasa Arjat, Mr Arsi Firdausy, Mr I Made Wardhana, Ms Arshie Ramadhani, Joanne Hajjir, Chris Khatouki, Ciara Morris, Andrew Ritchie, Nicole King (partly obscured), Richard Broinowski, Glen Roboinson (partly obscured) and Michael Nguyen