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South African Tariff Increase Deplored

20 June 2002

The South African Government's new tariff regime for imported red meat, which could have New Zealand exporters paying even more than 40 per cent already levied, did not seem justified, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said he had written to South African trade and industry minister Alec Erwin already, when changes to the tariff structure were first under consideration.

"But these new tariffs are even higher than I had been given to understand were in view."

"I am concerned about the impact of these changes on those producers who find this market valuable. I do not think that the reason the South Africans have advanced for these changes hold water."

Mr Sutton said South Africa was an influential member of the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations, which had as its goal the liberalisation of trade in agricultural goods.

"In this light, I hope that South Africa will reconsider its new charges.

"I am asking my officials to raise the matter with the South Africans, and I shall take the matter up myself with Mr Erwin when I see him next."


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