Kuwait-Australia Relations In Jeopardy Over Live Sheep Export Dispute

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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 18: According to a report titled “Kuwait’s firm stance: prefers live sheep over frozen meat,” SheepCentral’s website highlighted Kuwait’s continued critique of Australia’s gradual phaseout of live sheep exports, reports Al-Rai daily. Kuwait expressed its intention to source live sheep from other nations rather than relying on frozen sheep meat from Australia. Citing the Australian newspaper “Financial Review,” the website mentioned that Kuwait’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Muhammad Othman Al-Aiban, urged the Australian government to reconsider the live sheep export cancellation policy in a letter to Australian Minister of Agriculture, Murray Watt.

Al-Aiban referred to a virtual ministerial meeting where he criticized the ban on live sheep export as unrealistic, emphasizing that Kuwait already imports sufficient frozen sheep meat. The report emphasized Kuwait’s longstanding opposition to Australia’s plan to halt live sheep exports, stating that it could strain the relationship between the two countries. Minister Watt was quoted as saying that commercial decisions should be driven by business interests. He affirmed that the government would not end live sheep exports during the current parliament’s term and awaited an independent committee’s report to plan a well-considered transition. Minister Watt underscored the government’s commitment to collaborate with the industry to foster growth opportunities, including expanding land-based processing operations.

Meanwhile, the Australian sheep meat industry criticized the government’s approach, especially concerning nations like Kuwait. Mark Harvey-Sutton, Chairman of the Meat Exporters Council, called the idea of substituting live sheep with frozen meat arrogant emphasizing the importance of meeting consumer demands and respecting the preferences of importing countries, urging the Australian government to listen carefully to Kuwait’s concerns. Harvey-Sutton also emphasized that dictating customer preferences was not Australia’s role and stated that providing what customers genuinely want was essential for the nation.

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