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Audio: Indonesia Promising for U.S. Red Meat Exports, but Market Access Obstacles Remain

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Click to play audio file USMEF Economist Erin Borror has just returned from Indonesia, where she had the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders in the red meat industry. In addition to observing advances in local beef production, Borror discussed the current environment for imported meat with importers and others involved in the country’s meat trade. With a growing middle class and a rapidly increasing need for protein, Indonesia has been a promising market for U.S. beef exports – especially beef variety meat. Last year U.S. beef exports to Indonesia reached nearly 18,000 metric tons valued at more than $28.2 million. But Borror reports that Indonesia’s goal of bolstering its own beef production has led to a more restrictive import quota system. This has created a difficult business climate, severely slowing U.S. exports so far in 2012.

Because of a predominantly Muslim population, opportunities for U.S. pork have traditionally been much more limited in Indonesia. But with a growing expatriate population and an influx of immigrants from China, demand for pork is on the rise. Borror says the U.S. industry is well-positioned to capitalize on this situation, if market access challenges can be overcome.

TRANSCRIPT:

JOE SCHUELE: This is Joe Schuele with the U.S. Meat Export Federation report. USMEF Economist Erin Borror has just returned from Indonesia, where she had the opportunity to meet with key stakeholders in the red meat industry. Indonesia has been a promising market for U.S. beef exports – especially beef variety meat. But Borror reports that Indonesia’s goal of bolstering its own beef production has led to a more restrictive business climate.

ERIN BORROR: Our visit to Indonesia was a very action-packed two days, and it was exciting for me to see the market firsthand for the first time. The basic takeaway is that there is indeed tremendous potential in Indonesia, but it’s frustrating see the difficulties that importers there are having and the challenge they are facing in getting import permits specifically. So we talked to several members of the trade and it was clear from all of them that they wanted our assistance to try to gain better access to try to gain better access for imports and get the specific items that they need in that market.

JOE SCHUELE: Because of a predominantly Muslim population, opportunities for U.S. pork have traditionally been much more limited in Indonesia. But demand is growing, and Borror says the U.S. industry is well-positioned to capitalize.

ERIN BORROR: We definitely saw opportunities for U.S. pork, with the Chinese population and even the expat (expatriate) population within Jakarta, there’s definite demand for U.S. pork products. And at our Great American Barbecue event held at the ambassador’s house, we had a separate table with U.S. pork ribs and sausages and they were a definite “hit” there at the event. And we gave a full update at our seminar on the pork side of things and there were several in the audience who were interested and learned a lot that day. Market access (for pork) has been less of an issue than on the beef side, although we did hear from importers that they were also having problems getting import licenses for pork.

JOE SCHUELE: For more on this and other trade issues, please visit www.usmef.org.
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