8 Jun 2009

Clearance of stalled beef exports awaited

1:19 pm on 8 June 2009

The New Zealand meat industry is waiting to hear when containers of beef held up at an Indonesian port will be cleared.

Shipments of frozen beef from New Zealand and Australia have been blocked after Indonesian authorities delisted the agencies that certify halal meat in both countries.

Meat for consumption in Muslim countries has to be processed and handled according Islamic dietary law.

Indonesia is New Zealand's most important Islamic market, taking $NZ670 million worth of Halal certified meat and dairy products.

The Meat Industry association hopes the issues can be resolved quickly, as they were last year when Indonesia imposed a short ban on New Zealand beef exports because of concerns over labelling and halal certification.

New Zealand is also still trying to negotiate the removal of restrictions on beef exports to its second biggest Halal market, Malaysia.

They were imposed several years ago when Malaysian authorities decided most meat plants here were not fully complying with halal slaughter practices.

So far, only a few meat plants in New Zealand have been relicensed to process beef for export to Malaysia.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser has talked to his Indonesian counterpart. He says sorting out the cause of the delisting is a longer term issue.