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New sheepmeat access deal with European communities

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Joint Statement

December 21 1989


Australia has concluded a new deal on sheepmeat access with the EC.

The new arrangement, which will operate until 1992, preserves our overall access, which amounted to $36.5 million worth of exports in 1988-89 and gives the Australian industry an opportunity to expand sales of chilled lamb.

The Minister for Trade Negotiations, Mr Michael Duffy, and the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Mr John Kerin, in announcing the negotiated settlement today, said the new arrangements provide additional security for our sheepmeat


"Negotiations with the EC have resulted in an agreement guaranteeing that Australia's 17,500 tonne access for sheepmeat exports will not be cut at all, that the 10 per cent duty will be eliminated retrospective to January 1 1989, and that the EC will guarantee annual 500 tonne increases in Australia's access

for chilled lamb exports, to a total of 3,000 tonnes by January 1 1992," Mr Duffy said.

Mr Kerin noted that the chilled lamb market was of particular importance to the Australian livestock industry, which saw good opportunities in expanding sales in this new niche market in the EC.

Both Ministers however expressed dissatisfaction that the EC continued to implement a restrictive regime for sheepmeat imports.

"At a time when our representatives in Geneva are pressing for the liberalisation of agricultural trade through the Uruguay Round, our delegation in Brussels is compelled to negotiate restraint arrangements in order to protect our trade with the EC. This is not consistent with the spirit of the Round," Mr Duffy said.

Both Ministers expressed the hope that liberalisation of the E C ’s new import regime would be successfully addressed in the Uruguay Round.

Media Contact: Mr Duffy: John Ellis (062) 77 7420 Mr Kerin: Jim Devine (062) 77 7520