The blows keep coming for northern Australia’s live cattle export trade to Indonesia.
Less than two months after Indonesian officials suddenly imposed a new 5pc tariff on cattle imports, they are now reported to have introduced a requirement that all breeding cattle imports be accompanied by “certificates of pedigree”.
Indonesian officials have reportedly refused to release a shipment of 2000 Australian breeding cattle that arrived on Monday to the importer, on the grounds that pedigree information has not been produced.
Indonesia has not previously enforced the requirement for pedigree information on breeding cattle imports.
Once again industry officials have found themselves searching for answers and clarifications as they attempt to make sense of yet another new and unexpected trade barrier.
“We’re all just trying to get to the bottom of the situation because there are different standards being applied,” one live export industry source, who declined to speak publicly until further details were known, explained to Beef Central last night.
“We’re not sure if it is just isolated, if it is a misunderstanding, or if it is a decision from higher up in the chain.”
Pedigree information on breeder cattle exported from extensive northern herds would be almost impossible to supply. With the exception of prohibitively expensive DNA testing, there would be no way of knowing in a typical, multi-sire breeding program which bull and dam was likely to have produced which particular progeny.
As the industry grapples with yet another barrier to trade, little progress has been made on the 5pc tariff imposed on cattle imports in early July.
The Federal Government has been discussing the issue with its Indonesian counterpart and raising concerns that the 5pc duty violates Indonesia’s obligations under the ASEAN-Aust-NZ-Free Trade Agreement.
Despite those efforts no resolution has yet been achieved.
A decision by Indonesia to require certificates of pedigree on breeding cattle imports would also contradict announcements by president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin in June that Indonesia wants to increase breeder cattle imports from Australia to aid its push for self-sufficiency in beef production.
Last year's decision by the Gillard Government to suddenly ban Australian cattle exports to Indonesia on animal welfare grounds as it was gearing up for its peak annual beef consumption period during Ramadan was reported by Indonesian media to have surprised and angered Jakarta, and some see these new trade barriers as ongoing form of retribution for the problems caused by last year's ban.