Indonesia says it will increase its beef and live cattle import quotas from Australia, which have been slashed by about 75 per cent since 2010.
Indonesia will now allow unlimited imports of prime cuts of beef until the end of the year and a short boost to live cattle imports.
Presenter: George Roberts, Indonesia Correspondent
Speaker: Gita Wirjawan, Indonesian trade minister; Thomas Sembiring, Indonesia's Meat Importers Association; Suswono, Indonesian agriculture minister
C GEORGE ROBERTS: It's taken months, but last night the Indonesian trade minister, Gita Wirjawan, acknowledged that restrictions on beef imports have caused problems.
GITA WIRJAWAN: It's a little unfortunate that the price of beef in recent months has not been at a level where the people would so desire.
GEORGE ROBERTS: Since last year beef prices have rising sharply as the Indonesian government insisted on pursuing a goal of achieving self-sufficiency.
It's slashed beef imports from places like Australia by about 75 per cent since 2010.
But the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is looming and the festive season feasts will see consumption and prices rise.
Gita Wirjawan again.
GITA WIRJAWAN: But we have come to the conclusion that we are going to take a view on three things.
GEORGE ROBERTS: One of those is importing more prime cuts of beef.
GITA WIRJAWAN: From now on there won't be any restriction on the quantity of prime cuts that would need to be imported into Indonesia from anywhere - Australia, New Zealand.
GEORGE ROBERTS: That's until the end of the year and on the proviso that it's flown, not shipped, to Jakarta, Bali or Medan.
There's also a plan to speed up or bring forward the import quotas for ordinary cuts of beef. The live cattle trade is getting a little boost too, with the July to September quarter's import quotas being brought forward to next month.
Thomas Sembiring from Indonesia's Meat Importers Association doesn't think it's that easy.
THOMAS SEMBIRING: I'm rather pessimistic because bringing boxed beef here is not like buying meat at the supermarket.
GEORGE ROBERTS: He says Australia's live exporters may not be ready to send three months' worth of cattle next month either.
The Indonesian agriculture minister, Suswono, also won't say if the entire quarter's quota is available..
SUSWONO (translation): So far we haven't figured out the number yet and I don't dare say it now. The related institutions are discussing it. Hopefully we will know the number by June - early June.
GEORGE ROBERTS: If the short-term plan isn't uncertain enough, it's still unclear whether there'll be a permanent increase in trade for Australian exporters.