New protocols secured with Middle East for live exports

THE LIVE export of Australian sheep to Iran could soon be back on, after Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce secured new health protocols for the trade with the Middle Eastern nation.

Mr Joyce on Wednesday announced the new protocols, which he said would run "in parallel" with the existing animal welfare standards, as the government looks to "streamline" those as well.

The approval of the protocols, governing sheep, cattle and goat exports to Iran, comes after trade has re-opened with Egypt and cattle trade expanded with Indonesia.

While the vast majority of exports are expected to be of sheep, and deals have not yet been done, Mr Joyce said there were already "interested" Iranian importers and Australian exporters were preparing.

Should trade reach the potential levels of up to 1.3 million head of sheep a year, exports would be resumed through West Australia.

But Mr Joyce said the export market, potentially worth up to $20 extra per head, could benefit eastern-seaboard producers, with export demand opening up wider domestic markets from producers further from ports.

Topics:  barnaby joyce live export middle east

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