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Farmers Hit Back At US Embassy Comments

8 July 1999 PR65/99

Information put out by the United States Embassy in response to the lamb trade decision is misleading according to Federated Farmers.

Federation president Malcolm Bailey said that the tariffs will significantly affect New Zealand's lamb exports to the US and that they appear to be a clear breach of the United States' WTO obligations.

"These tariffs will cost New Zealand farmers a lot of money directly. In addition, there are the unseen costs of lost market opportunities and having to administer the tariffs."

"The International Trade Commission determined that rising lamb exports from New Zealand and Australia only constituted a threat of future injury. By whacking the existing trade with these tariffs, the US appears to be in clear breach of the WTO "safeguard" provisions."

"The US is also being very selective in quoting trade statistics between our two countries."

"New Zealand does export more food than we import from the US but we have a substantial overall trade deficit of NZ$1.7 billion because of the manufactured goods we import from the US."

"We are very efficient at producing food and do not expect to be penalised just because we export more food to the US than we import."

"Equally, the US is very efficient at producing manufactured products and we have no intention of blocking their exports just because they are efficient."

"This is a sad day for America's reputation," concluded Mr Bailey.

ENDS

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