Illustrative image (Photo: city-data.com)

Australian live cattle exporters breathed a sigh of relief after Indonesia permitted the import of 200,000 heads of feeder cattle in the fourth quarter after saying in early July that it would cut 80 percent of its cattle imports from Australia.

A ship laden with 4,000 Australian cattle is scheduled to leave Darwin, the capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory, on October 1.

Indonesia’s fourth quarter quota will bring the number of live cattle shipped from Australia this year to 670,000 heads, close to last year’s figure of 728,000.

Bilateral relations have worsened since last April when Australia recalled its Ambassador to Indonesia for five weeks in protest of the Southeast Asian nation’s handing down the death penalty to two Australian nationals charged with drug-related crimes.

Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce welcomed Indonesia’s decision and hoped that the two sides would reach a long-term cattle deal when he meets with his Indonesian counterpart Amran Sulaiman in Jakarta early next week.

They are expected to set an annual cattle import permit system with total annual purchase numbers and specifications to be announced before 2016, eliminating the political vagaries and price and supply uncertainties of Indonesia’s quarterly quotas.-VNA