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Indonesia, Australia to sign trade deal, says ministry

A long-awaited trade deal between Indonesia and Australia will be signed next week, Jakarta said Thursday, after months of diplomatic tension over Canberra’s contentious plan to move its embassy to Jerusalem.
Indonesian trade minister Enggartiasto Lukita and his Australian counterpart Simon Birmingham are set to sign the multibillion dollar agreement in Jakarta on Monday, according to a trade ministry invitation sent to journalists.
The pact includes better access for Australian cattle and sheep farmers to Indonesia’s 260 million people, while Australian universities, health providers and miners also benefit from easier entry to Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Bilateral trade was worth $11.7 billion in 2017. Greater access to the Australian market is expected to spur Indonesia’s automotive and textile industries, boosting exports of timber, electronics and medicinal goods. The deal has been in negotiations since 2010 and was expected to be signed last year, but it stalled when Prime Minister Scott Morrison proposed the relocation of Australia’s Embassy to Jerusalem.
Morrison first floated the shift in October, ahead of a critical by-election in a Sydney suburb with a sizeable Jewish population. Indonesia was angered by the proposal. Most nations have avoided moving embassies to Jerusalem to prevent inflaming peace talks on the city’s final status – until Trump unilaterally moved the US Embassy early last year.