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World Trade Organisation Panel On Lamb Formed

The formation of a World Trade Organisation panel to hear New Zealand's dispute with the United States about tariffs on lamb was good news, Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton said today.

The WTO confirmed the three-member panel today NZ time.

The panel members are: Professor Tommy Koh, from Singapore, who will chair the panel; Shishir Priyadarshi from India; and Meinhard Hilf, from Germany.

Mr Sutton said he was pleased the procedural step of forming the panel was now done.

"We can get down to the business of challenging the legality of the action taken against our lamb exports by the United States," he said.

"Now the hard work begins. We need to convince the panel of our view that the US tariff is contrary to its international obligations."

New Zealand is taking the case against the US on a joint basis with Australia, which is also affected by the lamb tariffs.

Presentations before the panel are scheduled for late May and early July. A final outcome, including the hearing of any appeals, is likely to be early next year.

ends

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