Jakarta beef impasse unresolved despite re-export claims

James Nason, 06/11/2012

An impasse surrounding a multi-million dollar shipment of beef stranded at Jakarta’s main port continues despite reports Indonesia is planning to release the consignment for re-export.

As reported by Beef Central in September, and again last week, Indonesian customs officials have been refusing to allow 118 containers of beef exported from Australia, New Zealand and the United States into the country for the past three months.

The consignment, worth an estimated $8 to $10 million, was imported by a single Indonesian importer and has been blocked due to import permit and quota issues according to local authorities.

Exporters are fighting to have the consignment released so the meat can be re-exported to other customers.

Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig sent a letter to his ministerial counterparts in Indonesia seeking a resolution last week, while Indonesia’s director-general of foreign trade, Deddy Saleh, told ABC Radio the meat would not be allowed into the country and would have to be re-exported.

However, Western Australian meat exporter Geoff Bull, who has beef in the consignment, says that despite Mr Ludwig's letter and Mr Saleh's statement, nothing was happening at the wharf in Jakarta..

“It has not eventuated, there has been no news from Jakarta to date,” Mr Bull told Beef Central today.

“I think the letters from our Minister were totally unheeded.

“The Indonesians continue to say they will allow re-export, but no-one does anything except ask for more pieces of paper."

Mr Bull said Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia was due to meet with Indonesian officials last Friday, however, he has had no word as to whether there was an outcome or if the meeting took place.

He said the containers of frozen meat were imported under a valid import permit signed and sealed by the Indonesian Director General of Trade.

“Indonesian Customs insist that re-export formalities are not complete.

“They have been saying this for eight weeks.

“They continue to demand forms and pieces of paper from the shipping companies, the importer and the exporters, it is a total nightmare.

He now believes the only solution is for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to discuss the issue with Indonesian Prime Minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono when she meets him  this week.

“Australian exporters acted under the regulations and import licences of Indonesia, but due to an internal matter between ministries in Indonesia, we are the ones who will suffer the losses.

“Only strong talk from our prime minister can save this situation.”


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