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Exporters to resume trade with Bahrain

Australian exporters have agreed to resume livestock exports to Bahrain following an eighteen month hiatus, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC), Alison Penfold said today.

The decision by ALEC follows the agreement between the Australian and Bahrain Governments on a new health protocol and assurances from Bahrain about the discharge of livestock.

“Exporters have been working diligently over the past eighteen months to establish suitable conditions on which the sheep trade could recommence with Bahrain”, Ms Penfold said.

“That work has included industry working with Government on a set of revised health conditions including reinforced requirements to deal with concerns about scabby mouth.

“The Australian industry has received an assurance from Bahrain that all livestock will be offloaded. We are aware that the Australian Government has received a similar written assurance.

“Next steps are for exporters to have Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) supply chains reaudited which is required by regulation if facilities are not used by Australian exporters for six months or more.

“Additionally, individual exporters will now make their own decisions regarding future exports of livestock to the market. Volume and timing will be dependent upon commercial factors.”

Ms Penfold said the restart of the trade with Bahrain provides a potential boost to sheep producers in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

“Bahrain has been a strong market for sheep exports for many decades with an average of 480,000 head exported at an average value of $47 million over the past six years.

“A return to Bahrain will provide an additional market for sheep producers, particularly those in the west who have really suffered in recent years. We all remember the overnight drop of 50% in sheep prices when a temporary stop was put to exports to the Middle East eighteen months ago. Those who oppose the trade have no doubt never experienced that sort of economic pain and damage and many small, mostly family run farm businesses are still hurting.

“The Australian livestock export trade has a strong future and re-engagement with Bahrain is important to the industry’s sustainability and profitability.

Ends

Contact: Alison Penfold (0408 633 026)

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