Red tape hinders live cattle to Indonesia

Red tape hassles continue to play havoc with Australia’s live cattle trade to Indonesia.LIVE cattle exporters are working to offset bureaucratic hurdles which currently mean they do not have permits to send shipments to Indonesia in April.

Northern Australian cattle operations are due to start their first musters in autumn, making April a crucial time for trade with our largest live export market.

“With large numbers of cattle coming online, producers will want to know exporters are in the market,” said Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive officer Alison Penfold.

April and May are also the lead-up to the peak demand period of Ramadan in Indonesia.

Significant efforts on Australia’s behalf to facilitate longer lead-in times on cattle number allocations and permits for live trade late last year led to the Indonesian Ministry for Agriculture Ministry amending regulations to allow numbers to be determined on a four-monthly basis, rather than quarterly.

That new arrangement is now in play, however the Ministry for Trade is still working under the three-month framework, which means Australian exporters currently only have permits up until the end of March.

ALEC is seeking a dispensation to allow those first permits of the year to be valid for April.

Ms Penfold said at this stage, cattle were not permitted to sail and arrive in Indonesia in April.

“With shipping schedules made three to four months in advance, it’s very difficult for our businesses to make arrangements when there is no guarantee cattle will be permitted to arrive in Indonesia,” she said.

“We have relayed our position to both the Indonesian and Australian governments.

“The difficulty lays in the differences in bureaucratic process in Indonesia and the fact two ministries are involved.”

Lobbying for earlier information to enable better logistical planning had been a key focus for some time and Australia ultimately would like to see permits allocated annually.

Ms Penfold said two weeks of shipping were forfeited this month due to delays in permit issuing.

“It is important for exporters and others in the supply chain for allocations to be announced as early as possible, ideally before the start of the permit period, to give all stakeholders enough time to plan the significant logistics involved with exporting hundreds of thousands of live cattle to Indonesia,” she said.

“It will allow our exporters to buy cattle over a longer period of time, which is preferred by all levels of the supply chain.”

Meanwhile, Indonesian Government plans to bring feeder cattle under its domestic value added tax, effectively putting the price of live exports from Australia up 10 per cent, look to be thwarted.

Australian exporters attribute the backflip to a massive push on the part of Indonesian feedlot operators and beef retailers to make clear the ramifications of an additional tax on domestic beef prices.

Both Australian and Indonesian cattle industry leaders had warned the proposed move would put significant inflationary pressure on beef, which seemed to run contrary to significant efforts in the South East Asian country to keep inflationary pressure on food in check.

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