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Farmers Outraged by US Decision

8 July 1999
Federated Farmers Media Release


New Zealand farmers have greeted the US decision to impose tariffs on
their lamb exports with outrage.

Earlier today President Clinton determined that a 9 percent tariff would
be applied from 22 July to all New Zealand and Australian lamb exports.
Increased volumes would attract a 40 percent tariff. These tariffs would
then reduce in subsequent years.

Federated Farmers president Malcolm Bailey said the decision defies
logic and makes the US look silly in the very year they are hosting the
commencement of the next round of World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks.

"The US has lost respect and credibility with this awful decision.

"Our exports have not harmed the US industry. Despite intense
competition from cheap pork and poultry, lamb prices have rebounded
strongly in the past year.

"The severity of this decision goes well beyond the majority view of the
International Trade Commission which recommended no tariffs on existing
exports and a 20 percent tariff beyond that.

"Perhaps the worst aspect of this decision is that all parties will end
up losing. Farmers in New Zealand and Australia will receive lower
returns and the US sheep industry will forfeit the offer of joint
promotion that may have helped turn their rapidly declining industry
around.

"The New Zealand and Australian Governments must immediately join forces
and fight this decision at the WTO.

"We cannot let an appalling decision like this go unchallenged and set a
very destructive tone for agricultural trade just before the next round
of WTO talks commence this year in Seattle.

ENDS

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