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No delay in beef imports, Trade Ministry says

Jakarta Post - March 14, 2024

Jakarta – The Trade Ministry has addressed concerns over rising beef prices and import delays, assuring that shipments are on track to arrive in time for the upcoming Idul Fitri celebrations.

The ministry's Director General of Foreign Trade Budi Santoso emphasized that import permits had been issued promptly.

"Import permits were issued in less than a week," Budi confirmed on Wednesday.

Budi further explained that Import Approval Letter (SPI) issuance follows a multi-step process to ensure all imports meet national standards. Before the Trade Ministry can give the final nod, the application must go through the Agriculture Ministry and the National Food Agency (Bapanas).

Bapanas head Arief Prasetyo Adi attributed the recent surge in beef prices to rising import costs, rather than delays in issuing import permits. He said there had been a significant increase in the cost of imported beef, particularly from Australia, which currently costs AU$8.50 (US$5.64) per kilogram.

The depreciation of the rupiah against the United States dollar has exacerbated the issue, with the exchange rate rising from Rp 14,500 to Rp 15,700 per dollar, driving up import costs.

"Our reliance on imports makes us susceptible to fluctuations in exchange rates and pricing policies of exporting countries," Arief said.

Amid these challenges, state-owned holding company ID Food is taking steps to ensure a steady beef supply for Ramadan and Idul Fitri. The plans include importing 3,000 live cattle in March and 20,000 tonnes of Australian beef. Additionally, efforts are underway to secure imports of 20,000 tonnes of frozen beef from Brazil.

However, ID Food CEO Frans Marganda Tambunan acknowledged challenges in realizing these targets caused by budget constraints and licensing hurdles.

"We are currently pursuing government support in the form of subsidized loans and guarantees with low interest rates," Frans said.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/business/2024/03/14/no-delay-in-beef-imports-trade-ministry-says.htm