South Africa Racing officials hoping for review of ban on horse imports into Gulf Countries

 November 17, 2001 Dubai~ South Africa remains the UAE’s key business and investment partner, with total bilateral trade reaching almost $2 billion (Dh7 billion) so far, top officials said Thursday.  A South African (SA) delegation attended the SA-UAE Business Forum hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday, November 17. as part of South African President Zuma’s visit to the Middle East.

Peter Gibson, CEO of Racing South Africa, writes:

President Jacob Zuma raised the matter of South African horse exports during the recent State visit to the United Arab Emirates. In his meetings with the President and Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, HH Sh. Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and HH Sh. Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, respectively, President Zuma urged their Government to review the ban on imports of horses and red meat from South Africa.

Racing South Africa’s marketing arm, The SA Equine Trade Council, was invited by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) to support the State visit which was intended to grow trade links between the two countries. The SA Equine Trade Council is a non-profit organisation jointly funded by Racing South Africa and the DTI and is specifically tasked with promoting South African bloodstock (of all breeds) to global markets. Equivalent organisations from other parts of the world include French Racing & Breeding, AusHorse and Irish Thoroughbred Marketing.

Council took a small delegation made up of the CEO, Mr Peter Gibson, prominent racehorse owner and breeder, Mr Hassen Adams, leading International trainer, Mr Mike de Kock, and AHS expert and Director of the Equine Research Centre, Prof Alan Guthrie, to attempt to break the horse export deadlock to the UAE. It was hoped that the Presidential platform could greatly assist the process.

Following Council’s briefing of the Minister of Trade & Industry, Mr Rob Davies, his Chief Director, Mr Yunus Hoosen and the South African Ambassador, HE Yacoob Omar, Government agreed to prioritise horse exports to the UAE.

A continued long quarantine would mean that de Kock and other South African trainers are unable to send their local stars for the Dubai carnival.

The South African government has agreed to prioritize the problem of horse exports to the UAE and Zuma was joined on the state visit by the South African Equine Trade Council.

Gibson said: “The delegation arranged separate meetings to explore collaborative opportunities between the two countries and it is hoped that genuine progress can be achieved by the start of next winter (June, July) when the bulk of the horses destined for UAE (and other Middle East countries like Qatar and Bahrain) are purchased for export.

“Horse exports to the UAE are currently worth SAR100 million (£7.7 million) per annum but, once the quarantine situation improves, it is expected to explode.

“This is backed up by the fact that South African racehorses and endurance horses have been the most successful of all exporting countries relative to numbers.”

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