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Government must resolve the US lamb row.

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Gavan O'Connor - Government Must Resolve The US Lamb Row Wednesday, 01 August 2001

Government Must Resolve The US Lamb Row Gavan O'Connor - Shadow Minister for Agriculture

Media Statement - 31 July 2001

Any talk of a free trade agreement with the United States while there are unfair restrictions on the importation of Australian lamb into the USA is premature, according to Shadow Agriculture Minister, Gavan O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor said that instead of tackling the hard issues, like the US Government's failure to comply with the WTO decision on lamb, and the massive subsidies the United States pays its farmers, the Howard government has been floating vague ideas about the possibility of a free trade agreement.

"So far we have seen no detail at all about just what the Howard Government hopes to achieve with a free trade deal," Gavan O'Connor said.

"Farmers can have no confidence in any deal made by a Government which has rolled quietly over as the Americans continue to ignore the WTO ruling.

"The Howard Government has failed to outline exactly what they hope to achieve in terms of improved access for Australian agricultural products in any free trade deal and how they can be sure that the United States will comply with any agreement.

"This Government places more importance on ensuring a smooth pre election trip to the United States for the Prime minister than on getting justice for Australia's lamb producers.

"The international umpire has said that Australian lamb producers have been treated unfairly by the United States and that the quotas and tariffs should be dropped.

"The Howard Government must insist that the United States complies with the umpire's decision." Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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