Indonesia says eyeing beef imports from Brazil

JAKARTA, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Indonesia is considering
permitting imports of beef products from Brazil to help reduce
dependence on a few exporting countries, Agriculture Minister
Anton Apriyantono told Reuters on Thursday.

Last year, Indonesia consumed a total of 396,500 tonnes of
beef and beef products, 30 percent of the total was imported
from Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

“Beef imports from Brazil can be opened up but with strict
requirements,” Apriyantono said.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of beef with
estimated foreign sales of $4.2 billion in 2007.

Among the import requirements, beef products must come from
states which are free of footh-and-mouth disease such as Santa
Catarina state, he said.

As the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia also
requires imported beef products pass Islamic halal standards
for food consumption.

Under the halal certification rules, suppliers must print
halal labels in both English and Indonesian.

On top of these requirements, Indonesia is also seeking
counter trade with Brazil, the minister said.

Under such arrangement, if Indonesia issued beef import
permits to Brazil then it must import Indonesian commodities,
Apriyantono said.

“We do not know yet which commodities Brazil wants to buy
but we will offer crude palm oil,” he said.

Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, is likely
to increase output by 2 million tonnes to 19.33 million this
year, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World has forecast.

It also estimates Indonesian palm oil exports will rise to
14.55 million tonnes in 2008, from 12.65 million tonnes in
(Reporting by Yayat Supriatna; Writing by Aloysius Bhui;
Editing by Ed Davies)