A trade agreement between Indonesia and Australia has been hailed as a timely signal to the world about the importance of free trade. The Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) was signed on March 4, 2019 in Jakarta.

The IA-CEPA will allow 99% of Australian products to enter into Indonesia tax-free or with significantly improved preferential agreements. All goods from Indonesia will enter into Australia duty-free.

Although the United Kingdom has successfully signed continuity agreements with Chile, the Faroe Islands, and Eastern and Southern Africa,  the embattled nation is still struggling to lock down free trade agreements (FTA) ahead of the March 29 Brexit date. Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry to the International Trade Committee on February 6, trade minister Liam Fox was unable to confirm that all 40 FTAs that make up the UK’s existing deals as a member of the European Union would still be in place after the exit date.

If the UK fails to secure a deal with a current trading partner before March 29, then both parties will default to World Trade Organization (WTO) trading rules. This would incur additional tariffs to a wide range of traded goods that were previously duty free when the UK was part of the EU. If a withdrawal agreement is successfully secured between the UK and the EU before the exit date, then all 40 agreements are expected to be extended during the transition period, which is set to end in 2021.

Japan and the European Union (EU) began a new phase in their trade relations on Friday when the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) entered into force, becoming the largest trade deal in the world. The agreement, predicated on tariff elimination, offers a clear message against the rising trend of protectionism that is gaining ground in other areas of the world.

The EPA, finalized by the two parties in December of 2017, covers the largest commercial area in the world, accounting for 36.9% of global trade and 27.8% of the world’s gross domestic product.