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Lamb restrictions should be first order of business with new US administration.

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Lamb Restrictions Should Be First Order Of Business With New US Administration Peter Cook - Shadow Minister for Trade

Media Statement - 30 January 2001

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The Howard Government has an opportunity to get a practical result from its early dealings with the Bush Administration, Shadow Minister for Trade, Senator Peter Cook, said today.

The Government has talked up its capacity to influence the new Administration. Now is the time to get beyond the rhetoric and to achieve something tangible for an important Australian industry.

Senator Cook was referring to the Administration's forthcoming consideration of an internal US investigation into the trade restrictions on Australian lamb meat imposed by the previous Clinton Administration.

Australia should maintain its legal challenge in the WTO against the unjustified measures (the US is likely to appeal a WTO panel report in favour of Australian and New Zealand). But in Washington the Government should be pressing the new Administration to use the internal review mechanism to remove the restrictions immediately as part of its renewed commitment to trade liberalisation.

President Bush and USTR-designate Bob Zoellick were not responsible for the restrictions, said Senator Cook, and removing them would be a clear sign that the new Administration is willing to address the real concerns Australian farmers have with US and European agricultural protectionism.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.