(Reuters) – Rising diplomatic tension between Australia and Indonesia spread into the corporate world on Friday when a state-owned Indonesian firm suspended talks with Australian cattle farmers, citing trust issues between the neighbors.
Protests continued in Jakarta, where dozens of people burned Australian flags and images of Prime Minister Tony Abbott outside the heavily fortified Australian embassy in Jakarta. They demanded an apology over reports that Canberra had spied on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife.
The alleged spying prompted Yudhoyono to downgrade diplomatic ties with Canberra.
“We decided to halt talks on cattle ranches in Australia temporarily until the Australian government fulfils what the Indonesian government insists they do,” RNI Chief Executive Ismed Hasan Putro told Reuters.
“This is very important to build out mutual trust, respect and equality in the future.”
Australia’s Joyce said such a decision was for the company to make. “As minister for agriculture I support foreign investment when it is in the national interest. It is a matter for individual companies to make decisions about investment options as they arise,” he said in a statement.
Putro, who declined to name the Australian companies, said RNI had already started talks with a New Zealand firm as an alternative candidate.
In September, RNI said it had sent a team to Australia to explore the possibility of investing around 350 billion rupiah ($29.91 million) in three or four existing cattle ranches, with the aim of importing 120,000 live animals a year. see more