Live Sheep Export Dispute Threatens Kuwait-Australia Relations
Category: Kuwait

Reports Al-Rai daily highlight Kuwait's continued criticism of Australia's gradual phaseout of live sheep exports, in a report titled "Kuwait's firm stance: prefers live sheep over frozen meat.". Instead of relying on frozen sheep meat from Australia, Kuwait plans to source live sheep from other nations. In a letter to Australian Minister of Agriculture, Murray Watt, citing the Australian newspaper "Financial Review," Kuwait's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Muhammad Othman Al-Aiban, urged the Australian government to reconsider the live sheep export cancellation policy.

At a virtual ministerial meeting, Al-Aiban criticized the ban on live sheep exports as unrealistic, emphasizing that Kuwait imports enough frozen sheep meat already. The report emphasized Kuwait's longstanding opposition to Australia's plan to halt live sheep exports, stating that it could strain relations between the two countries. According to Minister Watt, commercial decisions should be driven by business interests. The government will not end live sheep exports during the current parliament's term, and a well-considered transition will be planned based on an independent committee's report. As part of the government's commitment to fostering growth opportunities, Watt emphasized the expansion of land-based processing operations.

In the meantime, the Australian sheep meat industry criticized the government's approach, especially when it came to nations like Kuwait. The Chairman of the Meat Exporters Council, Mark Harvey-Sutton, called the idea of substituting live sheep for frozen meat arrogant, emphasizing the importance of meeting consumer demands and respecting the preferences of importing countries, and urging the Australian government to take Kuwait's concerns seriously. In addition, Harvey-Sutton stated that providing what customers genuinely want was important for the nation and that it was not Australia's role to dictate customer preferences.


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18 Sep, 2023 198
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