Measures a threat to Middle East markets

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As ABC reporter Sarah Ferguson picked up a Logie on Sunday for her report into cruel slaughter practices in Indonesia, a live exporter has warned new measures introduced in the report's wake are threatening long-term markets in the Middle East.

Although Emanuel Exports was one of the first livestock export companies to receive approval to ship livestock into the Middle East this month, the company's managing director Graham Daws said this week highlighted some of the teething problems with the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme (ESCAS).

Under this framework, an exporter must supply evidence to demonstrate they have an acceptable supply chains in place before they can be issued with approval to export by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

Mr Daws said exporters remained concerned that the initial time-lag for approval to some markets may interrupt trade, putting at risk Australia's long-term markets.

"Those markets we have supplied for 30 to 40 years are being forced to look for other supplies of fresh meat," he said.

Mr Daws said regular shipments to our long-standing overseas clients should never have been interrupted while the scheme was being implemented.

"The legislation, whether right or wrong, comes without any concessions," he said.

Mr Daws said although ESCAS would be good for the industry once it was up and running, Emanuel Exports was expected to ship only a third of sheep numbers this year compared to last year when it exported 1.5 million head.

He said some of the difficulty of the scheme was the extra costs which would be added onto what is already a premium sheep meat market.

"This is certainly an area for review," he said.

"The issue with our foreign customers is that they feel deeply wounded that the scheme was implemented without consultation."

Mr Daws said overseas buyers did not understand the details of the scheme.

He said the full impact of the compliance would not be known until the spring flush.

"I would expect farmers will find it difficult to move sheep when they needed to," he said.

A DAFF representative said Australian exporters had shown they were able to meet the new requirements, which was evident from the significant amount of exports that had already moved under the new framework.

"So far, more than 250,000 cattle have been exported to Indonesia under the new system," the representative said.

"Following the implementation of the new ESCAS requirements to tranche 1 markets (take effect March 1), there have been four voyages containing multiple consignments approved for export to Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait."

Regulatory requirements for tranche 2 take effect on September 1 and include exports to Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

Tranche 3, to take effect by December 31, includes Brunei, Mauritius, Russia, Vietnam and other markets.

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