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Australia says will restart trade talks with Indonesia early next year

[YOGYAKARTA] Australia and Indonesia will restart trade talks early next year in the hopes of reaching an agreement within 12 months, Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said on Tuesday.

Bilateral trade talks started in 2012 but stalled a year later due to rising diplomatic tensions.

The minister is leading Australia's largest business delegation of more than 300 people to Indonesia, just days after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta to mend diplomatic and economic ties. "I talked yesterday to my counterpart Tom (Lembong) and he said that they're ready to re-engage as quickly as possible. So we decided the first thing in the new year," Robb told reporters during a visit to the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. "I'd like to put a time on it... I can't see why we won't deal with this one in 12 months."

Indonesia is Australia's 10th largest overall trading partner and is the largest export market for Australian wheat worth A$1.3 billion (S$1.3 billion) in 2014, as well as a major destination for live cattle and sugar.

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Australia and its giant neighbour have a history of diplomatic turbulence stretching back decades, but relations reached historic lows under then prime minister Tony Abbott, who was ousted in a party coup in September.

Turnbull inherited ties strained by rows over spying, the execution of Australian citizens in Indonesia and Abbott's tough asylum seeker policies.