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Minister vows to maintain pressure on US over lamb exports.



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Media Release

The Hon Warren Truss, MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

 

26 August, 1999

 

MINISTER VOWS TO MAINTAIN PRESSURE ON US OVER LAMB EXPORTS

 

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, has today vowed to maintain the pressure on the United States over tariff and quota restrictions imposed on Australian lamb.

 

The NSW Farmers Association today end their month-long picket outside the US Embassay in Canberra.

 

Mr Truss said the anger of Australian Iamb producers over the US decision had been clearly presented at the protest during the last month.

 

“Lamb producers have every right to be angry at the hypocritical actions of the United States. They have been punished for being efficient producers and exporters of a quality product into a market the Americans would never have developed,” Mr Truss said.

 

“The US are constantly preaching fair trade to other countries for access of their products, but then do not follow through in their own backyard.

 

“Australian lamb producers have worked hard to develop the US market without any subsidy. They are now being punished for their success by these unfair actions of the

US.”

 

Mr Truss said while the protest outside the Embassy would be ending today, the Australian Government will continue the fight to have the US decision overturned by the WTO.

 

“I believe that Australia has a strong case for having the decision overturned and Trade Minister Mark Vaile will be firmly raising the matter with US Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman at the Cairns Group meeting in Buenos Aires this Friday.”

 

Mr Truss said the Federal Government will provide assistance to lamb producers by paying for up to two years, the equivalent of half the Transaction Levy applying to all lambs in Australia.

 

Currently, the Transaction Levy is set at 2 per cent (to a maximum of $1 .50/head) and the total value of levies raised across the industry is in the order of $14 million a year.

 

The Federal Government will be establishing a Lamb Industry Development Program worth up to $3 million a year over two years. This grant-based program will be available to individual processors, including boning-room operators and producers.

 

Grants will be available to: enhance industry performance, improve lamb product quality, build demand for lamb product, develop infrastructure, including in the lamb processing sector; and encourage on-farm productivity and innovation.

 

Andrew Hall - Media Adviser 02 6277 7520 0419 996 766

 

 

jk  1999-08-30  12:51