Media Release

Livestock trade reopens with Egypt

20 March 2014

Australian sheep and cattle farmers will receive another boost, with Egypt and Australia agreeing to recommence the livestock trade under the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS).

“I am pleased to announce that the Australian and Egyptian Governments have come to agreement on all matters to recommence the live cattle and sheep export trade between our two countries,” Minister Joyce said.

“It is a testament to the effectiveness of arrangements we have in place in other markets that the future livestock trade with Egypt will be based on ESCAS.

“ESCAS is designed so that Australian exported livestock are treated in line with international animal welfare standards throughout the entire supply chain.”

The introduction of ESCAS in Egypt replaces a government-to-government regulatory framework, and was a recommendation following a Department of Agriculture investigation report into allegations of mistreatment of cattle in two Egyptian abattoirs in May 2013.

ESCAS requires Australian exporters to establish supply chains which are consistent with World Organisation for Animal Health standards. The system has checks which have proven to deliver animal welfare outcomes, which a government to government system could not. As an OIE member Egypt recognises and respects the importance of safeguarding animal welfare.

“I welcome industry’s lifting of their voluntary suspension of livestock exports to Egypt. This is another important milestone for industry and opportunity for Australian producers who are doing it tough. It follows the recent reopening of the Bahrain market and delivers on our election commitment to reinvigorate the trade.

“It has been eight years since sheep were exported to Egypt and this provides a new opportunity for sheep producers.

“Work on market negotiations is continuously being progressed. Market access is, and will continue to be, a priority for the Australian Government,” Minister Joyce said.

Sheep have not been exported to Egypt since 2006, and cattle not since 2012.