Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Opinion - US Hypocrisy In Trade Laws

A United States appeal to the WTO has seen an Australian company ordered to repay A$22 million it received in export assistance grants to the Australian government because it contravened global trade rules. John Howard reports.

In what must be the ultimate irony over the NZ/US sheep meats subsidy payments debate the WTO, in a ruling to be made public next week, is to require a Victorian leather producer, Howe and Company, to repay the A$22 million.

US antagonists had appealed to the WTO stating the company used the grant to build a state-of-the-art processing facility in Thomastown, Victoria in 1998.

Under an agreement struck last year between Canberra and the US, the ruling now, cannot be taken to appeal.

The WTO is understood to have rejected Australian government claims that it complied with a May 1999 WTO ruling by requiring Howe and Co to pay back just A$8 million of the A$30 million grant paid to the company in three instalments in 1997 and 1998.

A director of Howe's parent company, Australian Leather Holdings, Mr Kel Webster, said last year that any WTO requirement to fully repay the grant represented "a nightmare scenario." He declined to comment on this latest WTO ruling until it is made public.

Although a spokesman for the Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, also declined to comment, it is understood Canberra may offer Howe a loan to lessen the impact of the ruling.

The WTO ruling is a victory for two of Howe's US competitors - Garden State and Eagle Ottawa - which Mr Webster has previously accused of "trying every trick in the book" to keep Howe out of the lucrative US automotive leather market.

Howe first attracted attention in the US markets in 1995 when it secured a contract worth US$125 million to supply leather to General Motors.

Under pressure from the two companies, the US Trade representative confronted the Australian government arguing that federal export assistance programmes had underwritten Howe's inroads into the US market.

Protracted negotiations took place last year between the two Government's but the US companies were still not satisfied and appealed to the WTO resulting in the latest ruling.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news