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Australia Hopes to Resume Sheep to Saudi Arabia

Hopes to Resume Sheep to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH— Australia has
submitted draft guidelines for the resumption of livestock trade with Saudi Arabia
in the hope of stemming its losses, Australian Ambassador Robert Tyson has

Canberra last year suspended export of livestock to Saudi
Arabia after the Kingdom rejected a shipment of Australian sheep found to be
contaminated, sending the 57,000 rejected animals on an epic journey of the
region’s seas.

“This draft document, which is still to be finalized with
the Gulf countries including the Kingdom, will ensure a greater degree of
transparency and predictability, and will help to facilitate the livestock
trade,” said Tyson.

Tyson said Australia’s livestock trade is continuing with
many other countries in the region. “It is only suspended for the time being
with Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The draft document will help to avoid a repeat of the
Saudi-Australian debacle. Australia’s trade with Saudi Arabia was worth $124
million annually, making the Kingdom the largest market for Australian

Asked about the target date to resume livestock trade, the
ambassador said: “We expect some discussions on this subject within a few

The Kingdom consumes some 10 million heads of livestock
annually of which 80 percent are imported.

Tyson said it was “for the Saudi government to decide”
whether a quarantine facility here is feasible and practical. More than 40
Arab, African, Asian and European countries are on the list of countries whose
livestock exports to the Kingdom are subject to strict quarantine.

The diplomat said that the Kingdom and Australia forged
closer trade relations despite Canberra’s decision to stop exports of sheep.
Premier of the state of Victoria Steve Bricks will arrive here on March 12 for
a three-day official visit to further boost commercial relations.


Copyright 2007