Joyce to rebuild live export links

Barnaby Joyce will continue to focus on boosting live exports during his first overseas tour since becoming Agriculture Minister in September.

Mr Joyce will visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait, Australia's biggest live sheep export market in 2012-13, next month.

He had considered going to China as part of a 350-strong delegation led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott but opted to focus on the Middle East.

The live export industry has lifted voluntary bans on live exports to Bahrain and Egypt in the past month based on Federal Government moves to resolve animal welfare issues.

Emanuel Exports director Graham Daws welcomed Mr Joyce's move to build trade relationships, but said he did not expect a big jump in sheep exports this year.

Exporters are close to resuming shipments to Bahrain, which imported 400,000 sheep as recently as 2011, but processing facilities in Egypt need approval under the Commonwealth's exporter supply chain assurance scheme before the market reopens

Mr Daws said regaining access to Saudi Arabia would provide a long-term market of about one million sheep and about 200,000 cattle a year.

However, this was unlikely under existing ESCAS terms and conditions unacceptable to the Saudis.

Australia is expected to export about 1.8 million sheep in 2013-14, most of them from WA farms.

The West Australian

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