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Australia hails delay of new horticulture regulations in Indonesia

(Xinhua)

14:55, March 08, 2012

JAKARTA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government on Thursday welcomed the decision of Indonesia to delay the implementation of proposed quarantine arrangements which threaten to impede horticultural exports to the country, a press statement from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta said here.

The proposed amendments to Indonesia's horticultural regulations would restrict access for exporters to Indonesian ports, including Jakarta's main seaport of Tanjung Priok.

The Indonesian government has announced that the amendments will now come into effect on 19 June 2012.

"Indonesia is important to Australia's horticulture 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 assists Indonesia's quarantine services through the 22 million dollars Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Emerging Infectious Diseases program, which is designed to support institutional strengthening of the Indonesian animal health system.

Australia has also provided support to Indonesia on the strengthening of its quarantine systems through a range of projects focused on avian influenza, emerging infectious diseases and pest analysis.

"Officials in Australia and in our Embassy in Jakarta have been working closely with Australian industry and Indonesian counterparts to ensure that Australia's high-quality and well- priced fruit and vegetable exports can continue to supply Indonesian households. We will continue to work with Indonesia on this issue over the coming months," Emerson said.

On May 6, Indonesia's Agriculture Minister Siswono announced the delay, citing the government's willingness to provide time to stakeholders and trade partnering countries in preparing equipment and facilities such as warehouse, cold storage and transportation vehicle.

"If those things are not ready and we force the implementation on time, it is expected that it will derange distribution of fruit and vegetable," said Siswono.

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