Live export industry sources say an Indonesian Government memo confirming that no new cattle import permits have been issued for the July to September quarter does not necessarily mean Australian cattle will be locked out of the market for the next three months.
The Australian newspaper reports that a senior official in the Indonesian Agriculture Department sent a memo to Indonesian beef importers last Friday confirming that no import permits would be issued for the current quarter, because of Australia’s ban on live cattle exports.
The memo said that in light of the Australian government's temporary halt to cattle exports "authorisation for the import of cattle for period June-September 2011 cannot be issued, pending further developments".
However a senior Australian government source told the newspaper the decision was not confined to Australian cattle and did not mean Australian farmers were facing a three-month ban as permits could be reissued on an "interim" basis.
A spokeswoman for Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the issuing of import permits was a matter for the Indonesian government. "There is no technical barrier which prevents the issue of further permits between now and October," she said. "The decision not to issue import permits affects all countries, not just Australia."
A spokesman for an Australian based exporting company told Beef Central this morning the company was not aware of any change in the official situation in the past week.
The Indonesians had indicated that while there was no trade from Australia, because of the Federal Government's suspension order on exports to the market, there was little point issuing import permits.
The situation did not mean that Indonesia would not re-issue permits later in the quarter. It had issued "in-quarter" permits in the past, he said.
Indonesia's agriculture minister Suswono told the Indonesian media over the weekend that his Agriculture Ministry had proposed solutions to improve the treatment of cattle at slaughter houses, including equipment to restrain animals to reduce the risk of suffering.
Agriculture Minister Suswono said the proposal was in line with requests from the Australian government to improve procedures and facilities at Indonesian slaughterhouses, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday.
“We will try to make changes according to the demand [from the Australian government],” Suswono said.
He added that the Indonesian government would welcome any move by Australian authorities to reopen its live cattle export to Indonesia once the improvements were in place.
“A joint team from both government is still working [on a new standard for slaughterhouses],” Suswono said.
HAVE YOUR SAY