Beef Exporters Encouraged by Indonesian Comments

AUSTRALIA - Indonesia wants to increase its average beef consumption by tenfold, from two kilograms per person per year to 20. Despite his country's stated goal of self-sufficiency, Indonesia's trade minister, Gita Wirjawan, says beef imports from countries like Australia will continue to play a role in feeding that demand.
calendar icon 16 October 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

After meeting with his Australian counterpart Craig Emerson in Canberra, Mr Wirjawan said his long-term view was that Indonesia will remain a good place for cattle traders to do business, reports ABC Rural.

"If we want to go from two to 20 kilograms of beef consumption on a per capita, per year basis, at a $7 per kilogram price tag, we're talking about a US$35 billion business per year, here," he said.

"That should make it pretty sexy for anybody that wants to do business in the cattle industry in Indonesia."

Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson agrees that Indonesia's goal to boost beef consumption is good news for the Australian cattle industry.

Australia has allocated $21 million through AusAID to help Indonesia increase its beef production capacity, but Mr Emerson says that doesn't mean Australian beef will be replaced by local product.

"It's boosting the overall trade rather than going back to this whole zero sum game that, you know, a kilo of beef from Australia displaces a kilo of beef from Indonesia," he said.

"When you're going hopefully from two to 20, it's all hands on deck rather than who wins and who loses.

"There'd be a lot of winners out of this."

The Opposition leader Tony Abbott is in Jakarta this week, with his deputy Julie Bishop and agriculture spokeman John Cobb.

Ms Bishop says they've met with Indonesian and Australian cattle industry representatives to discuss the live trade between the two countries.

Asked for her response to the comment from Mr Wirjawan that relations between his country and Australia are currently "excellent", Ms Bishop told Radio Australia that, "the Indonesian ministers are exceedingly polite and diplomatic, and I am not in the least bit surprised that that is the public line."

"We have met with many people up here in Indonesia about the live cattle issue and I can assure you, it is of deep concern not only to the Australians involved, but also to the Indonesians."

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