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Commerce Ministry releases impounded meat shipments

JEDDAH, 11 October The Commerce Ministry issued on Tuesday orders to release the shipments of Australian and New Zealander consignments of goat meat, beef and poultry products which were impounded at the Jeddah Islamic Port last September.

The meat was not allowed to enter the Kingdom’s markets because it contained internal organs that were banned in the Kingdom out of fear of introducing epidemics carried by animals.

The ministry issued the order following Saudi importers’ collective request to release the commodity, worth SR10 million.

The businessmen said in their request that the confiscation of the meat at the port caused them heavy losses and a number of the ships carrying the commodity had already started to head toward other destinations.

The sources in the ministry confirmed that the ban was lifted in this case after the plea by the traders was accepted, and the ministry has now directed its laboratory at the port, which initially rejected the shipments, to take necessary steps to release them.

The ministry previously refused to release the goods as a precautionary measure in its bid to stop epidemics entering to the Kingdom through meat.

Suleiman Al-Balwi, a representative of meat businessmen in the Kingdom, said the ministry took an undertaking from the importers to the effect that they would not import meat containing interior organs again.

Meat importers’ difficulties started in early August when the ministry stopped 680 tons of meat from Australia at Jeddah port because it contained spinal cord. Saudi regulations do not allow spinal cord into the Kingdom because it may contain the germs of hydrophobia.

Australian businessmen threatened to halt future meat exports to the Kingdom if the regulation was not changed.

Meanwhile, a conference organized by the GCC’s secretariat general, the ministry of economy and commerce in the United Arab Emirates and the Federation of the GCC Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Dubai next week will discuss ways to tackle commercial fraud, particularly in e-commerce.

The meeting will also prepare common rules and regulations to combat the menace in GCC countries and review the difficulties faced by government agencies in this matter.

This meeting is to be held as per the recommendations of a meeting in Jeddah in October 1999 and the Riyadh conference of the commerce ministers in 2000.

Insurance rates not to go up: The port administration at the Jeddah Islamic Port has decided not to increase the insurance cover on Saudi commodities and ships as decided by the Lloyds Shipping Insurance Co.

The port authority took the decision after holding several meetings with representatives of accredited shipping agencies, shipping companies and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Source: Arab News



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