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Lamb Decision Blow To US Free Trade Credibility

Thursday 8th July

President Clinton's decision to impose tariffs on New Zealand lamb is a huge blow to the United States credibility on free trade according to ACT Agriculture Spokesman Owen Jennings.

Owen Jennings said it will be particularly galling for New Zealand farmers that not only has Clinton slapped on tariffs but he is also promising $190 million in aid for US farmers.

"New Zealand Farmers have shown the initiative in the US market, they have the best quality product and are competing on a fair and equal basis with US lamb producers. Rather than bleating to the Government US sheep farmers should have got off their backsides and worked harder to compete.

"Clinton's interference is a real kick in the guts for New Zealand farmers who have succeeded on their own merits without spoon feeding from the Government.

"Farmers are left wondering why Clinton is penalising exporters who are embracing his free trade message.

"The decision by the US today to impose tariffs on New Zealand lamb is unfair and unjust. The US must be made to defend their decision before the WTO. Although we are only a small country we have equal clout at the WTO and would have a very strong case.

"We have to fight this decision to stop the US from imposing tariffs on other New Zealand exports," said Owen Jennings.

ENDS

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