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NZ Lodges Submission In WTO Lamb Case

New Zealand would lodge its first submission with the World Trade Organisation disputes panel hearing the case against the United States tonight, Minister for Trade Negotiations Hon Jim Sutton said.

Mr Sutton said lodging the submission was a major step along the road towards resolution of the dispute which began last July.

The United States outraged New Zealand farmers last year when it imposed tariffs on New Zealand lamb imports, after claims that increased imports were threatening the American domestic market.

Australian lamb imports were also hit by the tariffs, and both Australia and New Zealand are taking a complaint to the WTO against the United States.

Australia also lodges its submission this evening, and the next step will be the submission of the United States response.

Mr Sutton said the preparation of the submission had been an intensive exercise, involving close consultation between the Government and the New Zealand meat industry.

"The submission sets out in detail the Government's arguments about its firmly-held view that the United States action was in breach of WTO rules."

All three countries will meet with the three-member panel.

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