For Canadian exporters and service providers, ICA-CEPA presents an opportunity to expand into a youthful, growing and technologically-aware market that is also the largest economy in South-East Asia. It will also complement the rising awareness in Canada of the increasing strategic and economic importance of the Indo-Pacific.
For Indonesia, Australia has become a reliable source of large volumes of disease-free livestock that thrive in a similar tropical environment. Among the greatest challenges currently confronting the industry are: price and supply issues, largely due to prolonged drought and devastating floods, especially in northern Australia; a lack of dialogue at the government-to-government level; and the slowness of the industry to tell its side of the story, including of the importance of the live export trade, especially to northern Australia, and the work that has been done to improve animal welfare.
It is unlikely that ASEAN will agree to a co-ordinated response to the military coup in Myanmar, leaving it to countries from outside the region to impose stronger measures. Convincing the military to schedule a new election with ASEAN oversight, while not ideal, may be the best-case scenario for ASEAN.
Petitioning to re-open Bali is a move of desperation from the local government. It will be difficult to attract a suitable number of tourists, though, given the many factors beyond the control of the Indonesian authorities.
Indonesia may see the worst of the pandemic in 2021 and Australia should closely watch how Jakarta’s relationship with Beijing develops. The fate of the hardline Front Pembela Islam may also be decided, which could have a significant impact on the broader community.
The presence of the firebrand cleric in Indonesia will make Canberra uncomfortable as he represents a cultural shift that could further alienate the two countries and complicate any initiatives towards gaining a better understanding of each other.
The bilateral relationship with Indonesia is at the foreground of US foreign policy as the presidential election unfolds. The outcome of the election could sway the US approach to Indonesia and the wider region.
While there was no single significant outcome from the meeting, it nonetheless highlights the growing importance of Indonesia to the United States and pragmatism from Indonesia’s Government in keeping Washington onside.
Implementing practical co-operative projects to assist in dealing with the pandemic could help South Korea realise its goal to be a strategic partner in Southeast Asia.
The issue of independence in West Papua will likely reignite as Indonesia renews its autonomy laws for the region. The prospects for West Papua’s independence movement are bleak; Indonesia simply has too much at stake in the region and does not face enough external pressure to hold an independence referendum. Further compounding matters, in the current geopolitical climate, concerns relating to China will also heighten sensitivities surrounding the potential vulnerability of an independent West Papua.