WHILE news of the potential opening of the China live export cattle market dominated media last week, it seems attempts to get the live sheep trade to Iran moving have subsided.
Little has been said about the Iran market since May this year, when Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced animal health protocols had been agreed to between the two countries.
Former Kalgoorlie MP Graeme Campbell did a large amount of work to get the Iran market open, but fears parties involved may be losing interest.
"It seems to have gone cold," former Kalgoorlie MP Graeme Campbell said.
"But I think they are still interested and I won't give up trying."
Mr Campbell has been lobbying for a resumption of live exports through Qeshm Island, which is part of Iran's free trade zone.
Mr Campbell is now thinking of travelling to Iran in the New Year, to find out the true reason why the market has gone quiet.
"Our exporters are simply not getting any orders," Mr Campbell said.
"I think the main problem is there is nowhere to land the sheep.
"I think we need to get together with the Iranians to find a suitable place.
"I still believe it should be through Qeshm Island, but there may be other options."
The livestock trade to Iran was suspended, around the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979.
The Department of Agriculture confirmed that although exporters can now establish supply chains in the market, including ESCAS arrangements, to date there have been no applications to export livestock into Iran.
Industry representatives believe there is potential there, however there seems to be a few things holding up trade.
WALEA chairman and Emanuel Exports general manager Nicholas Daws said there was a lot of talk about the market last year as a potential one million head a year market, however commercial trade talks had not yet developed.
"I understand they are taking a lot of sheep from Europe and other markets that are closer, so Australia cannot compete on price," Mr Daws said.
"So it may not be commercially viable at this point in time.
"The protocol has been signed off, but at this point there seems to be no commercial interest from Australia, as far as I am aware.
"There might be, but nothing has progressed as yet.
"Also, ESCAS has to be implemented there as well."
Mr Daws said there was limited shipping capacity at the moment, with other markets being serviced and this could be another reason why the Iran trade has not taken off.
"Normally we would get a lot of interest from importing countries, for quotes and such, but we have not had anything from Iran," Mr Daws said.
Australian Livestock Exporters' Council CEO Alison Penfold said the protocols had been signed and it was now up to industry.
"The protocols are open, but there is no movement in there at the moment to export," Ms Penfold said.
"I think part of the constraints could be the financial side of doing business with Iran, that makes it much harder.
"It's not from lack of demand, I think it's simply the arrangements that exist with that market at the moment."