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Australia pleased with WTO beef report.

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Media release Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile

Tuesday, August 1, 2000 MVT72e/2000

Australia Pleased with WTO Beef Report

Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, has welcomed the public release of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Korea beef dispute panel report that confirms Australia's win in its case against Korean restriction on imported beef. The report was issued in Geneva overnight.

"This WTO dispute finding represents a strong potential boost for Australian beef exports to Korea and shows again how the WTO is working in Australia's favour," Mr Vaile said.

"Korea is Australia's third largest beef market, worth approximately $150 million a year. Last year, Australia exported 78,000 tonnes of beef to Korea, out of a total annual quota of 206,000 tonnes."

Australia complained to the WTO about Korea's requirement that imported beef be sold separately from Korean-produced beef. Australia also complained about a number of other measures, including the treatment of Australian grass-fed beef; minimum wholesale pricing; limitations on which private sector operators can buy and sell imported beef; discriminatory labelling and record-keeping requirements; and the subsidies provided to Korea's beef producers. The Panel agreed with Australia that these measures are in breach of WTO rules.

Mr Vaile expressed his appreciation for the significant contribution of the beef industry to the successful prosecution of the case.

"This dispute has been the model of government/industry cooperation in pursuing the WTO rights of Australian exporters. We have been working closely together since day one of this dispute, and this has been fundamental to the success we've now achieved."

Mr Vaile said while the panel report was a great outcome for Australia, there was still more work to be done because Korea has announced it will appeal the findings to the WTO Appellate Body.

"There was always a strong chance that Korea would appeal the findings which it is entitled to do under WTO dispute rules. I can assure you we will participate vigorously in the appeal process to defend the positive findings that we now have in Australia's favour", Mr Vaile said.

The outcome of the appeal will be known before the end of the year.

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