New free trade agreement will see fresh WA produce in Indonesian supermarkets

fresh produce coles

A Coles fresh food aisle. Source: supplied

Fresh produce from Western Australian — including a variety of table grapes, Bravo apples and premium onions — will hit the shelves of a high-end Indonesian supermarket in June thanks to a new free trade agreement (FTA).

The introduction of WA-grown fresh produce to more than 10 stores across greater Jakarta was made possible by an FTA signed last year. It is the first shipment of WA fresh produce that importer PT Mulia Raya will send to Indonesia, and the first time local apples and grapes will be exported to Australia’s nearest neighbour.

Roger Cook, WA’s minister for state development, jobs and trade, said Indonesia was an important market for the state’s exporters, being the fifth largest export customer for agrifood and beverages. He said that the agreement was an innovative example of growing ‘our share of the global food market’.

“The WA government knows that Indonesia is an important market […] across a range of other sectors, including mining and METS, education and energy,” Cook said.

“We are committed to continuing our engagement with growing markets throughout Asia to strengthen our economic ties.”

The deal was brokered by a virtual business matching program designed jointly by the departments of primary industries and regional development, and jobs, tourism, science and innovation.

Last year a shipment of WA carrots and onions were sent to Indonesia using the same digital platforms to engage with buyers. The business matching platform facilitated virtual tours of farms, packing and processing facilities, and for questions to be answered in real time.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan described the business matching platform as an innovative way to overcome international travel restrictions and a ‘triumph of WA’s pioneering spirit’ against a backdrop of global trade challenges posed by COVID-19.

“The local participants in this program, including WA Farm Direct, Fruitico and Patane Produce, have adapted to the new operating environment and pursued innovative channels to capture market opportunities,” Tiernan said.

The latest fresh product export deal was supported by the WA government office in Jakarta, and made possible by the FTA known as the Indonesia — Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

According to the department of foreign affairs and trade, Australia’s total two-way trade in goods and services with Indonesia was worth $17.8 billion in in 2018-19.

This article was first published by The Mandarin.

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