AUSTRALIAN cattle producers have welcomed confirmation that negotiations for the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (I-A CEPA) have concluded, with significant tariffs eliminated for meat and livestock and greater certainty for live cattle exports.

Cattle Council of Australia, the peak industry body representing Australian beef cattle producers, said the strong relationship between Australia’s beef industry and Indonesian customers would be boosted thanks to the historic trade agreement.

“Indonesia is such an important partner for our industry, not just as our most important live export market, but also thanks to its growing intake of boxed beef products,” Cattle Council president Howard Smith said.

“The Australia-Indonesia beef supply chain is a genuine partnership, linking producers, processors and exporters in Australia with importers, feedlots, retailers and consumers in Indonesia.

“Further trade liberalisation is a welcome outcome, consolidating relationships in those supply chains and providing greater confidence in the future of the trade relationship.”

IA-CEPA will deliver additional trade liberalisation by building on the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA).

Highlights of the agreement include a quota for 575,000 live male cattle (with a 0% in-quota tariff), growing by 4% per annum over five years to 700,000 head. Live cattle import permits will be issued annually and without seasonal restrictions, with a review to be conducted after five years to consider further quota increases.

Female cattle exports will also be liberalised, with 0pc tariff on entry into force (EIF) of the agreement and no quota or import permit restrictions.

Boxed beef tariffs will also be liberalised, either immediately or gradually. Exports where 0% tariffs are not already applicable under AANZFTA will benefit from either a 0% or 2.5% tariff on EIF (down from 5%), with the tariffs being eliminated altogether over five years.

Similar advantages will be extended to frozen offal, with the 5% tariff eliminated on EIF of the agreement.

In 2017, 512,871 Australian cattle were exported to Indonesia, along with 49,689 tonnes of boxed beef. To July 2018, 290,150 Australian cattle have been exported to Indonesia this year, along with 36,812 tonnes of boxed beef.

“On behalf of all producers, Cattle Council acknowledges the important work of the Australian and Indonesian governments and industry representatives who have secured this important economic agreement,” Mr Smith said.

“It gives producers even more confidence about the ongoing partnership we have with our Indonesian customers in meeting their growing demand for red meat, whether that be with live cattle or boxed beef.

Cattle Council works closely with the Australian Government to ensure that beef producers receive favourable outcomes when negotiating trade agreements and removal of economic barriers to international markets.

“We’re proud to be continuing in that role while further free trade agreements are pursued,” Mr Smith said.

“The future of Australia’s beef cattle industry is heavily reliant on the competitiveness of our product in export markets where we vie for market share with beef from other countries”.

“The removal of trade tariffs is just one of the ways we can boost our competitiveness and extend the reach of our clean, green Australian beef around the globe.”

For further information please contact Tom Dawkins on 0409 219 527.