Both legal and illegal livestock marketing systems are operating at different magnitudes in the Amhara Region’s Ethio-Sudan cross-border cattle trade. Small farmer exporters and traders are the major actors in the illegal cattle marketing system while medium- to largescale licensed exporters are dominantly operating in the legal system. Most cattle sales are related to farm households’ cash needs and commercial orientation. However, cattle sales are also induced due to fear of theft and insecurity. The paper analyses volume of trade, transaction costs, trade barriers or constraints and how to address them.