Indonesia boycotting could harm ordinary people

WHILE Clive Palmer has called for a boycott of Indonesia an economics expert has warned any retaliation could harm ordinary Indonesians.

UNSW trade expert Tim Harcourt said the Indonesian-Australian relationship was vital for each country and needed to remain strong.

"Our relationship with Indonesia has survived the Bali bombings and tensions over boat arrivals. It will survive the executions. Despite our horror, it should do so for the Indonesian people's sake," he said.

"Indonesia is a huge trade partner for Australia. It is important that Australia strongly condemns these abhorrent executions. However, we must also ensure that the Indonesian people are not economically disadvantaged by action we take to protest at action taken by their government and judiciary."

Clive Palmer yesterday called on Australians to move investments out of Indonesia and cancel any plans to visit the country - but Mr Harcourt said a major economic disruption could cost jobs.

He said the trade partnership with vital to both countries with $11.1 billion in goods and $3.3 billion in services traded.

"However many Australians seem unaware of how trade, jobs and the economy could be put at risk if we rock the boat," he said.

"Don't forget education, professional services and big firms like ANZ, Commbank, Leightons, Orica, plus the TAFE sector. You don't want to turn that boat back to Indonesia.

"Any suspension of aid or trade sanctions would only hurt Indonesian people. Any action should be carefully thought through.

"After all, many Indonesians are against capital punishment themselves, therefore we shouldn't be punishing the country as a whole. If possible we should avoid direct economic harm to the poorer workers in Indonesia."


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