READY TO GO: With Indonesia slashing live cattle imports, exporters are looking for new markets.
READY TO GO: With Indonesia slashing live cattle imports, exporters are looking for new markets. DAVE Huntaap

Indonesia cuts down on live cattle exports from Australia

LIVE cattle exporters have been shocked by Indonesia's move to slash imports of Australian beef, but the head of the industry has dismissed claims the reduction is a political decision.

Australian Livestock Exporters Council chief executive Alison Penfold told Sky News the decision involved production and supply in Indonesia and was not related to issues such as boat tow-backs.

"It's not dragging in other issues playing out in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia," she said.

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon conceded Indonesia was trying to become self-sufficient in cattle production, but told the ABC: "Of course the Abbott government's relationship with Indonesia ... won't be helping at all.

"Tony Abbott said he wanted our foreign policy to be less about Geneva and more about Jakarta, yet there's no doubt Australia's relationship with Indonesia has deteriorated under Tony Abbott."

Treasurer Joe Hockey said he was sure Indonesia's decision was not related to the recent executions of two Bali Nine drug smugglers or other issues that have plagued the diplomatic relationship of late.

Indonesia will take 50,000 head of cattle between now and September, down from 250,000 the previous quarter.


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