Park to meet Indon VP on trade

Jo FulwoodCountryman
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WAFarmers president Dale Park will meet with Indonesia's vice-president Boediono in Melbourne next month, to progress agricultural trade relations between WA and Indonesia.

Mr Park said after a successful delegation in September to Indonesia organised by the Global Foundation, it was important for the agricultural industry in WA to continue to invest in trade relations and network building.

Mr Park said Professor Boediono was visiting Australia to collect honourary doctorates from the University of WA and Monash University, and would participate in a roundtable meeting with industry groups and representatives.

Discussion at the meeting in Melbourne will centre on ways to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries.

"We are keen to meet with him to continue our networking and relationship building," Mr Park saidsaid.

"The damage was done two-and-a-half years ago when we stopped cattle exports, and we need to start to repair that.

"We do very little trade with Indonesia - our trade with New Zealand is larger than what we do with Indonesia but we are a lot closer to Indonesia than to New Zealand."

Mr Park said the Indonesian- Australian relationship had traditionally been a "we sell, you buy" association.

"But that is not the basis for a long lasting relationship," he said.

"We have to understand what they need, and they have to understand what we need, we need to create a win-win out of this.

"We'll look at closer co-operation, and we'll also talk about things that they produce that we might be able to use too, and fertiliser is one of them, notwithstanding quality control issues."

Mr Park said Australians should be assisting Indonesia to increase its beef production potential, while at the same time looking for opportunities to increase exports into our nearest neighbour.

"One of the other things we have talked about is trying to help them to produce more beef as well," he said.

"Their beef consumption is growing incredibly quickly - they used to eat 1.8kg per head per year, but now they are eating 2.2kg at the moment, and that's growing even during a price increase."

According to Meat and Livestock Australia estimates, in comparison, Australians ate around 31.4kg of beef per person in 2011-12.

But Mr Park said Indonesian farmers had traditionally viewed their cattle as a bank, to be used as a dowry, rather than a food production system.

"Just do the numbers. There are 250 million people in Indonesia, and the reason that they are in so much strife at the moment, is they tried to be self sufficient and they've eaten a whole lot of breeding stock," he said.

"They should be looking at us as their back paddock.

"The potential is huge and in the future we won't be able to supply the beef that they consume."

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