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No fall-out for trade from diplomatic dispute

STILL EXPORTING: The Australian Livestock Exporters Council has played down fears of a possible ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia.
STILL EXPORTING: The Australian Livestock Exporters Council has played down fears of a possible ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia. Contributed

DESPITE some livestock industry concerns over a diplomatic wrangle between Australia and Indonesia, it is business as usual for the Australian Livestock Exporters Council (ALEC).

There have been numerous reports this week that Australia's live cattle export trade to Indonesia could be under threat following revelations Australia had spied on senior Indonesian officials, including the wife of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, in 2009.

ALEC CEO Alison Penfold said that as far as the council was concerned, there was no change to the trading environment.

"There is no impact on live exports," she said.

"I'm not going to speculate on what may or may not occur because I don't think that is in anyone's interests.

"But the fact is the trade is continuing and, in fact, we have more cattle going out than we have had in a long time.

"There are a lot of permits out there and exporters are busily sourcing cattle and there are a lot of boats about to leave from northern Australia.

"We're just a bunch of businesses selling cattle into Indonesia and we just want to get on with that job."

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce this week cancelled a planned trip to Indonesia, and last week the Indonesian trade minister Gita Wirjawan asked the parliament to clear the way for imports of live cattle from countries such as Brazil through changes to animal health laws.

Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman, however, said it was in the interests of both countries that the diplomatic issues be resolved quickly.

He said no-one wanted to see another live export ban.

Topics:  cattle live exports livestock