Indonesia sharpy cuts Australian live cattle exports

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  • TEMPO.CO, Canberra - The Australian Livestock Exporters Council said Indonesia’s decision to cut cattle imports was both a surprise and a disappointment.

    Indonesia has told the market it would issue 50,000 import permits between July and September. That compares with an expected 200,000 permits for that quarter and is well below the usual third quarter figure. Indonesia is Australia's biggest live cattle market.

    However, Council Chief Executive Officer Alison Penfold rejected local media suggestions it was linked to the uneasy relationship between the two countries.

    "Absolutely not. I know there have been some suggestions in the media today and I am disappointed [some people] have decided to play politics," Ms Penfold told the BBC.

    The import cut comes amid political tensions between the two countries over asylum seekers departing Indonesia by boat for Australia.

    Also, earlier this year, Indonesia ignored pleas from the Australian government to grant clemency to two Australian convicted drug traffickers on death row.

    In recent years, the live cattle industry has been rocked by a serious of scandals about poor treatment of the animals in some of the countries Australia exports to.

    A spokesman for Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce told local media the Australian Government respected Indonesia's right to make the decision but was "disappointed" by the cut.

    However, the Opposition's Agriculture Spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the decision was a reflection of the tense relationship between the two countries.

    "Of course the Abbott Government's relationship with Indonesia or the deterioration of it won't be helping at all," Mr Fitzgibbon told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.