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Australia welcomes delay in new Indonesian quarantine regulations

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Indonesia have postponed the implementing of new quarantine regulations that threatened to affect exports to the country from Australia. The proposed amendments would result in restricted access to Indonesia’s ports, including the main seaport in Jakarta, Tanjung Priok. The new regulations were due to begin March 19 but that date has now been pushed back to June 19.  The regulations will restrict the number of ports accessible to exporters bringing in fruit and vegetables.  The restrictions aim to increase food safety standards and quarantine inspections.  Given that some of Indonesia’s ports do not have the required facilities, the new regulations will aim to shut these ports off to horticultural exports. The Australian Government are eager to ensure that the regulations will not pose any threat to the livelihoods of Australian exporters. "I am keen to work with our neighbour to ensure that we can meet the needs of exporters from Australia and other countries while respecting Indonesia’s desire to strengthen its quarantine regime and food safety requirements," Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said. Australia has provided Indonesia with a whole range of projects and assistance aimed at strengthening the country’s quarantine systems, including the $22 million Australia Indonesia Partnership for an Emerging Infectious Diseases program. The port causing the most worry for Australia is Tanjung Priok, where the majority of Australian exports arrive.  Work is ongoing between Indonesian and Australian industry to try and ensure that Australian exports can continue unhindered. "We will continue to work with Indonesia on this issue over the coming months," Dr Emerson said. While the delay is welcome news, it seems clear that Australia is pushing for amendments to the planned implementation. "We have put it to them pretty clearly that we think these changes would have a serious effect on our trade and we have asked them to look again," Senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official Rod Smith said.

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