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New Zealand Initiates WTO Action On Lamb

New Zealand has formally requested dispute settlement consultations with the United States under World Trade Organisation (WTO) Rules, Trade Minister Lockwood Smith announced today.

Speaking from Lima, Peru, where he is leading a trade delegation of 23 New Zealand exporters, Dr Smith confirmed that New Zealand lodged its request for dispute settlement consultations in Geneva on Friday 16 July, following the US decision to impose trade restrictions against imports of New Zealand lamb.

New Zealand has already held consultations with the US under the Safeguards Agreement of the WTO, which reached an unsatisfactory conclusion in Washington on 14 July. The initiation of dispute settlement consultations is the first step towards obtaining a binding decision on the legality of the US measure. If the dispute is not resolved during those consultations, a panel may be established to rule on the tariff’s validity.

“New Zealand’s request for dispute settlement consultations is a serious step, and it has not been taken lightly,” Dr Smith said.

“But the trade barriers imposed by the US against New Zealand lamb imports are in our view contrary to WTO rules.

“The New Zealand Government does not accept that efficient producers should be penalised for successfully marketing a quality product to consumers in offshore markets. The US Government’s decision to introduce trade restrictions in their lamb market must be challenged. If this approach were applied across the board we could see the introduction of trade restrictions on almost any product, in any market. We’re committed to fighting this decision in the WTO,” Dr Smith concluded.

New Zealand and the US are likely to hold their first dispute settlement consultations in Geneva in August.

ENDS

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