Author Topic: Australia, Bahrain reach live export agreement  (Read 4104 times)

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Australia, Bahrain reach live export agreement
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 12:16:58 PM »
Australia and Bahrain have reached an agreement that could see the live export trade between the two countries resume soon.

The Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has announced that both countries have agreed on health protocols for sheep exports, which stipulates the condition Australian sheep must be in, to be unloaded in Bahrain.

While potential exporters still need to establish approved supply chains in Bahrain, Mr Joyce said he's hopeful trade "will start to flow soon."

The country was an important live export market for Australia, receiving 400,000 sheep and almost 2,500 cattle in 2011 before the Australian industry decided to suspend trade with Bahrain 2012.

  Sheep feeding in Bahrain feedlot height=227  Photo: Sheep feeding in a Bahrain feedlot. (supplied)   
A disagreement over the health protocols for the disease scabby mouth lead to that suspension, after Bahrain rejected a shipment of 20,000 sheep in late August 2012.

Sent to Pakistan where they were condemned as diseased by local officials, the sheep were eventually brutally culled after representatives of the Australian exporter and Pakistani importer were escorted from the premises at gunpoint.

The importer and exporter maintained that the sheep were healthy, and that they met the requirements for export to Bahrain.

A statement issued by Mr Joyce's office said that as part of the newly agreed health protocols, "Bahrain has provided specific assurances on that disease and the Bahraini Cabinet has also provided assurances about the unloading of Australian sheep."

On Friday, Mr Joyce announced he would also be abandoning the previous Labor government's policy that required Australia to negotiate Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with all new livestock markets from July 2013.

In a statement, Mr Joyce said MoUs are unnecessary red tape.

"Trade can go ahead in new markets without an MoU. Where there is already an MoU we are not walking away from it, we are just saying we don't need MoUs in new markets. This is another sign of the Coalition reducing Labor's red tape," he said.

"MoUs have mixed success as they are statements of intent between governments and are not legally binding. Most export markets receiving Australian livestock do not have MoUs in place."

  ABC Rural  Anna Vidot and Babs McHugh