JAKARTA, Indonesia | Indonesia, Australia to sign agreement to boost trade

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia and Australia are signing a free trade agreement that will eliminate many tariffs, allow Australian-owned hospitals to be set up in the giant Southeast Asian country and increase work visas for young Indonesians.

The countries’ trade ministers were to sign the agreement, negotiations for which first began in 2010, in Jakarta on Monday. It is subject to ratification in both countries.

Annual trade between Australia and Indonesia is valued at $11.6 billion. Though neighbors, their trade is relatively small with Indonesia’s exports to Australia just 1.5 percent of its total exports.

Australia says 99 percent of its exports to Indonesia will be tariff free or have improved preferential access.

Australian work visas for young Indonesians will be increased to 6,000 a year from the current 1,000 over six years.

By Associated Press