Indonesian visit to strengthen agricultural ties
5 October 2015
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, will depart Australia today for a visit to Indonesia that will focus on progressing agricultural cooperation, investment and trading opportunities between the two countries.
Minister Joyce said Australia shared a strong bilateral relationship on agriculture with Indonesia that delivered benefits to both nations.
"Indonesia and Australia have a long history of working cooperatively on agricultural issues and capacity building projects—for example through the Australia–Indonesia Partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector.
"The total value of our two-way trade with Indonesia was $15.7 billion in 2014, and bilateral agricultural trade made up about $3.5 billion of this," Minister Joyce said.
"Agriculture is an important part of our trading relationship, and makes a significant contribution to both our economies and to the livelihoods of farmers in both our countries. Agriculture is also a major part of Australia's development cooperation programs with Indonesia."
Minister Joyce will be in Indonesia for three days and will meet with Indonesian Ministerial counterparts and have several roundtable discussions with industry leaders from both countries.
"As one of Australia's most significant regional partners, a long-term, stable trading environment and regular, consistent and open communication with Indonesia remains a high priority both for me personally and for the Australian Government," Minister Joyce said.
"Last week I was pleased to welcome the Indonesian Government's announcement to increase import permits for Australian cattle to 200,000 head for Quarter Four, 2015.
"Australia's live export trade with Indonesia is a valuable partnership between Australian producers and exporters, and Indonesian importers, feedlots and abattoirs, with both sides profiting from their participation in the supply chain. This partnership can also provide Indonesian consumers with reliable access to quality, affordable meat, where there is a stable and consistent trade framework.
"The Australian Government is committed to supporting and advocating for our agricultural industries, while maintaining a respectful and mutually beneficial bilateral relationship with Indonesia.
"We will continue to work cooperatively with Indonesia to promote a stable and secure trading and investment environment, to give greater certainty to both Australian producers and Indonesian importers in making business planning decisions.
"We hope to work together to implement longer term planning and certainty such as moving towards annual import permit numbers for live cattle."
Minister Joyce said Australia took seriously its contribution to Indonesia's food security, with key agricultural exports including wheat, live cattle, beef, sugar, dairy and horticulture. The Coalition Government was committed to being a safe and reliable supplier of these products to Indonesia.
"Indonesia was our fourth largest agricultural export market in 2014, with Australian agricultural exports to Indonesia valued at $3.3 billion—or 8 per cent of total Australian agricultural export value.
"Our agricultural imports from Indonesia rose by 30 per cent from $168 million in 2011 to $218 million in 2014, with more Australian consumers enjoying Indonesian products such as pasta, noodles and cocoa products. Indonesia is also a major source of sustainably harvested forestry products for Australia," Minister Joyce said today.