‘Don’t panic’ over live ex

This is not a surprising outcome. The Australian government’s unilateral ban on exports earlier this year, without communication with their Indonesian counterparts, caused great humiliation to the Indonesian government, and heavy losses to Indonesian feedlots and abattoirs, most of whom were innocent of wrongdoing. It’s payback time.

Of course, within a year they will realise they cannot be self-sufficient by 2014 and the trade will pick up again. It will create some softening in the market for a time, which will be to customers’ advantage.

From Queensland Country Life

AUSTRALIA’S beef industry is still absorbing the news that Indonesia will drastically slash live cattle imports in 2012.Indonesia media reported last night that live cattle exports out of Australia would be cut from the current 520,000 head to 280,000 head next year.

Indonesia will also limit the boxed beef it buys from overseas to 34,000 tonnes. Last year, Australia exported 48,500 tonnes of boxed beef to Indonesia.

The country’s Agriculture Minister Dr Suswono has indicated that the Indonesian Government’s plan to be self-sufficient in beef by 2014 is behind the shock move.

Dr Suswono denied the move was in retaliation to the Australian Government’s decision to halt the live-ex trade to Indonesia for one month in June, while animal cruelty allegations aired on ABC Television were investigated.

Australian Live Exporters Council chief executive Lach McKinnon said it was not the time to react hotly to the overnight decision.

“We don’t have the details yet, once we get those it will determine how we react,” he said.

“We were never expecting a cut in the quota as big as this. It’s a big cut and we’re going to have to manage this as best we can once we know the details.

“We’re going to have to work pretty hard to work out our approach in light of this news. It’s a shock and it’s certainly not something the industry needs right now. We’re going to have to work bloody hard to fix it and work out where we go from here.”

Mr McKinnon said his organisation had no prior warning of the Indonesian decision. He was also still waiting to hear from Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig’s office when contacted by farmonline.com

“We heard news of this through the australian media just like everyone else,” he said.

“So my advice to beef producers is don’t panic, we still don’t know all the detail, but as we’ve seen over the last six months this is a very resilient trade. If there’s an industry with a never-say-die attitude it’s definitely ours.”

The Cattle Council of Australia president, Andrew Ogilvie, who has just returned to Australia after a week-long trade mission with Mr Ludwig to North Asia, said Indonesia’s decision had dealt the industry a huge blow.

”Industry is pretty disappointed that there has been a reduction but we recognise Indonesia’s determination for self-sufficiency,” he said.

Both Mr Ogilvie and Mr McKinnon said they did not believe the decision was in retaliation to Australia’s suspension of trade in June.

While acknowledging the industry would rally, Mr McKinnon has also told the ABC that any drop in exports would be a massive blow to the cattle industry in the country’s north.

”It’ll put us under a lot of pressure and we’ll have to work very hard to get through this,” he said.

”It’s like any of these particular trade issues – it’s about government to government and working through what it is both parties want to get.”

Indonesia’s decision comes on top of the Labor Party’s recent national conference which rejected a push to phase out live cattle exports altogether.

Nationals Leader Warren Truss says Indonesia may have just beaten Labor to the punch in destroying Australia’s live cattle export industry.

Mr Truss speaking in Bundaberg this morning said the recent ALP Conference vote (215 to 173) narrowly saw a temporary reprieve for the live trade, but showed that the dogmatic determination of those within Labor’s ranks to kill this important industry was alive and well.

“Given Julia Gillard’s botched handling of live beef exports to Indonesia and Labor’s ongoing risk to supply, the Indonesian government has retaliated by accelerating moves towards self-sufficiency and phasing out Australian supply entirely within a couple of years,” Mr Truss said.

“This is the ongoing fallout from Labor’s original mess. Cattle producers across northern Australia will be gutted by this news. They, along with numerous small businesses that rely on the trade, have just endured a disaster at the hands of an inept government’s over-reaction.

“It means the uncertainty businesses, families and entire communities have been suffering through will now continue until the live beef trade to Indonesia simply dries up.

“It’s a $320 million a year hit to the Australian economy, but now pushes an entire industry to the brink of collapse.”

An Agriculture Department spokeswoman said last night import quotas were a matter for the Indonesian government.

”The Australian government remains committed to the live export trade,” the spokeswoman said. ”Over recent years there has been considerable variation in the number of permits issued.

”The Australian government will continue to work with the Indonesian government to support this mutually beneficial trade.”

 

‘Don’t panic’ over live ex – National Rural News – Livestock – Cattle – Queensland Country Life.

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