WA has loaded its first shipment of sheep to Bahrain since an industry-imposed ban was lifted on the lucrative market.
The breakthrough consignment is part of a shipment of about 80,000 sheep and 150 cattle to Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait due to leave Fremantle.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce inspected the loading operations yesterday as he prepares to visit Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on his first overseas tour since taking up the key post.
Mr Joyce revealed Australia had offload agreements in place with other countries in the unlikely event that Bahrain rejected sheep from Australia.
However, he was confident of building a strong trade relationship after reaching an agreement on animal health matters.
The Australian Livestock Exporters' Council voluntarily suspended trade with Bahrain in 2012 after it rejected 20,000 sheep exported from Fremantle, claiming some were diseased.
The sheep, said to have scabby mouth, were sent to Pakistan where a brutal cull upset farmers and animal welfare campaigners.
Meanwhile, Indonesia has released permits for Australia to export 273,000 cattle in the second quarter of 2014.
The permits were well up on the first quarter's 160,000 head as expected with Indonesia beefing up supplies for Ramadan.