Farmers brace for Indon tariff hikes

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
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Australia’s trade relationship with Indonesia has been dealt another blow after Jakarta’s shock decision to increase import tariffs on a range of food and consumer products.

Authorities in Canberra were scrambling to assess the impact after being made aware of the increases late yesterday.

It remains unclear how the tariff hike across food, clothes, tea, coffee, liquor and motor vehicles will impact on the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand free trade agreement.

Beef exporters have been hit hard with meat import tariffs up from 5 per cent to 30 per cent. A WA-based exporter said Indonesia was becoming a risker place to do business.

The exporter, who did not want to be named, said that over the past year the beef import permits issued to his longstanding clients had been slashed from 2000 tonnes a quarter to 250t a quarter.

Indonesia rocked the Australia cattle industry this month by cutting import permits for the quarter by 80 per cent to 50,000 head.

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