THE WA live cattle trade has suffered a setback after Malaysia imposed a ban on livestock imports.
Dean Ryan, export manager, Emanuel Exports, said one of their shipments was on the water at the time but was given special dispensation to unload its cargo of cattle, sheep and goats.
"At this stage the ban effects us significantly as we have a shipment going there every two weeks," he said.
A Foot and Mouth Disease scare over Burmese cattle imported to Malaysia through Thailand was believed to have caused the ban, imposed two weeks ago.
Mr Ryan said the company was trying to divert shipments to other South East Asian markets, however these markets were subdued. "It's going to be a tough year for live exports," he said.
He said about 70pc of Australian live cattle sent to Malaysia came from WA, with most loaded through Pt Hedland and Broome.
Malaysia was also WA's third largest market last financial year and considered a stable market.
Mr Ryan said the Australian Government, through its trade and quarantine departments, was in the process of highlighting Australia's disease-free status to Malaysian authorities.
Mr Ryan said the upside in the industry was a strong demand for live sheep.
Meanwhile WA Government Jakarta-based regional trade director Ross Taylor confirmed that the Indonesian live cattle market was flat.
He said "crunch time" was also looming at the end this month when the Indonesian tax department would send out final notices for payment of a retrospective 10pc VAT on meat and livestock.
Mr Taylor said most importers hadn't passed on the extra 10pc fearing the market would swing to other meats.
The Indonesian beef producer body APFINDO was still fighting the VAT.