$100m halal beef trade ban delayed

A potential ban on New Zealand $100 million in beef exports to Indonesia from October 1 has been postponed until next year.

Indonesia has been threatening to ban New Zealand beef
exports as an Islamic clerical body, the Ulema Council (MUI), no longer
recognises the local certifications the meat conforms to Islamic
dietary laws.

Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda
said in New Zealand today that it had been decided to postpone the ban
until the certification issues could be resolved.

“We have to
sort out our difficulties at home, in particular the co-ordination of
the government agencies, but… also the Ulema Council,” Mr Wirajuda
said today.

“We agreed to postpone the initial target… (from) October until early next year.”

would give the Indonesia Government time to work out new rules and
whether it recognised the New Zealand certification companies or would
require certification from an Indonesian source.

postponement decision follow the recent re-election of President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono, who is expected to reshuffle his cabinet.

New Zealand has only two certifying authorities, and Indonesia no longer recognises either of them.

The certifications are provided by New Zealand Islamic Meat Management and the Federation of Islamic Associations (FIA).

is the world’s most populous Muslim country and all meat and dairy
exports from New Zealand, worth more than $600 million, are halal

Some in the rural sector suspect that the
non-recognition of the New Zealand certificates are inspired by
Indonesian companies’ desire to become the world’s leading producers of
halal food and beverages.

Mr Wirajuda said today that
Indonesia’s desire was to expand trade between the two countries after
the signing of the Asean free trade deal with Australia and New Zealand.