Truss vows to ‘tear down trade barriers’ as she launches new talks with $1.1tn economy

Liz Truss says UK will be 'adding' to trade deals in 2021

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Britain and Indonesia, which in 2019 had a GDP of $1.1trillion according to The World Bank, already do £3billion worth of trade each year and are hoping to find ways of strengthening ties. A free trade deal currently does not exist between the two countries with the UK eager to strike an agreement now it is outside the EU.

For the past 18 months, a Joint Trade Review has been conducted to establish ways to increase trade.

Today, exploratory talks were launched between Ms Truss and her Indonesian counterpart Muhammad Lutfi on agreeing a trade deal.

Ms Truss said: “By 2050 Indonesia is predicted to be one of the top five economies globally.

“Today’s agreement sets out our ambitions to strengthen our trade and investment ties, deepen our collaboration across a range of sectors, from financial services and technology to renewables and open new markets for UK businesses.

“We want to strengthen trade links with like-minded countries like Indonesia who share our belief in democracy and the international rules-based system and help strengthen Global Britain’s dynamic partnerships with ASEAN and Southeast Asia.”

She added the UK was eager to “tear down trade barriers”.

The Joint Trade Review found improving co-operation on education and training, financial and professional services, healthcare and life science, food and drink, agriculture, renewables and green energy were all areas of priority.

Bureaucratic red tape was identified as one of the barriers currently holding back relations between the two economies.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the UK and Indonesia to find ways of enhancing trade and reducing challenges to market access.

The UK’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Sam Myers, said: “This Memorandum of Understanding is an important step for deepening the UK’s trading relationship with Indonesia, ASEAN’s largest economy.

“It will create a formal mechanism to address business opportunities and challenges at senior levels of government, and kick-start sector-specific discussions in nine priority areas.

“We are already having productive engagement with businesses on renewable energy and green growth, and food and beverage products – creating new prospects for joint partnership and prosperity.”

Ms Truss has built momentum in trade talks across the globe since preparations began for Brexit Britain’s place after leaving the EU.

Over the past two years more than 70 trade deal have been brokered by the International Trade Department, on top of the EU trade agreement negotiated by Lord Frost.

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While trade talks are only just beginning with Indonesia, negotiations with other partners are nearing completion.

Last week Ms Truss announced the UK was close to finalising a free trade deal with Australia.

Face to face talks were held between Ms Truss and Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan, leading to “major breakthroughs” in negotiations.

Officials are now working on resolving remains technical issues with the hope of a trade deal being agreed in June.

“We have made major breakthroughs over the past few days and an agreement is now in sight,” Ms Truss said last week.

“This is a deal that will deliver for Britain and all parts of our economy.

“It is a win-win for both nations.

“It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that will support jobs across the country and help us emerge stronger from the pandemic, strengthening ties between two democracies who share a fierce belief in freedom, enterprise and fair play.”

The UK is also understood to be close to finalising a deal with New Zealand.

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