Luxton Queries US Agricultural Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
9 SEPTEMBER 1999
LUXTON QUERIES US AGRICULTURAL POLICY
Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton today met with the US Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mr Richard Rominger for discussions with respect to both countries agricultural sectors.
Mr Luxton criticised the recent US safeguard action which sought to protect the small US lamb industry with a 9% tariff placed on Australian and New Zealand imports into the United States. "This policy is inconsistent with the principles of APEC in promoting free trade in the APEC region," Mr Luxton said.
"I also expressed concern about high tariffs and export subsidies for the US dairy industry which protected less efficient US farmers from competition by New Zealand's internationally competitive agricultural sector."
"I was pleased to receive assurances that the US were determined to ensure that agriculture was on the WTO agenda later this year and I hope that the US will look more favourably on its import restrictions for countries such as New Zealand that have a subsidy free agricultural sector. It is important that the US provides leadership in this vital area of trade liberalisation."
Mr Rominger will be looking at some of New Zealand's agricultural sector during his visit.
"I hope that he will go away with a better understanding of how New Zealand farmers are able to compete internationally without subsidies because of advanced farm technology and very high farmer skill levels."