The Coalition Government has announced the opening of a sixth live export market for 2014.
For the first time in over a decade, Australian feeder and slaughter cattle, sheep and goats can be sold to Lebanon.
It follows the opening or re-opening of live export markets to Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Cambodia, and Thailand earlier this year.
“Initially, industry is forecasting we will see 10,000 head of cattle and 100,000 head of sheep make their way to Lebanon—and that’s just the beginning of trade with good prospects for growth,” federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said.
“This is another strong opportunity for our livestock producers. We should be proud of Australia’s reputation for reliability, supplying tens of millions of people all over the world with some of the highest quality, cleanest and sustainably produced livestock available. This is something we do well and it’s great to see more opportunities for this industry to continue to grow.
“Lebanese and Australian veterinary authorities have now reached agreement on animal health certification requirements for live feeder and slaughter cattle, sheep and goats which opens the door for the start of trade.
“The next step is for exporters to establish Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) arrangements to support appropriate animal welfare outcomes in this new market.
“We said we would reinvigorate trade and expand market access. Lebanon is the next opportunity available for livestock producers.”
The opening of a new market is good news for the trade, but it remains to be seen what impact the additional costs imposed on Australian livestock through ESCAS, and the high charges for transitioning livestock vessels through the Suez Canal, will have on the competitiveness of Australian slaughter cattle and sheep in the market.
Lebanon currently has good supply sources for livestock already in place, importing tens of thousands of live cattle from Brazil, France, Italy, Hungary and sheep from Romania and Bulgaria each year.
Source: Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce