Labor pushes trade ties with neighbours

Labor wants to focus on boosting trade with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and East Timor.
Labor wants to focus on boosting trade with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and East Timor.

Labor wants to look at ways Australia could build up its trade engagement with neighbouring countries beyond striking national level deals.

The opposition has set up a task force, led by Darwin-based MP Luke Gosling who speaks Indonesian, to focus on boosting trade between businesses with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and East Timor.

"Despite their proximity to Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia sit outside the list of our top 10 trading partners at numbers 13 and 11 respectively," Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said in a statement on Monday.

He cast the push as being all about jobs for Australians.

Labor has come under fire over the past six years, under Bill Shorten's leadership, for sometimes being seen as anti-trade when it sought to tighten labour mobility components of international deals.

Australian Associated Press