Indonesia relaxes limits on Australia beef imports

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Indonesia will relax restrictions on the import of Australian beef following talks between the two nations, Australia's trade minister said on Tuesday.

Indonesia has agreed to exempt "premium" Australian beef imports from quotas, Mr Craig Emerson said in a statement. It will also allow live cattle exporters to start filling quotas intended for the final six months of the year ahead of schedule.

The move will help boost Australia's cattle industry, which has struggled with the implementation of quotas by Indonesia, its largest live cattle market.

Indonesia introduced tight quotas on beef imports in 2012, in the hope of promoting its own domestic market, but the policy has created shortages and rising prices.

"This is great news for Australian beef producers," Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig said in an emailed statement.

Jakarta will also review supply and demand later this year, Australia's government said.

Indonesia has been criticised by international trading partners as it often uses import tariffs or quotas to protect domestic agriculture.