Luxton Welcomes Lockwood 's Lamb Lobbying

  • John Luxton
International Trade

'The Cabinet today agreed to divert the Minister of Trade, the Hon Dr Lockwood Smith to Washington later this week on his way back from a trade mission in the Middle East,' said Acting Minister of International Trade and Foreign Affairs Hon John Luxton.

New Zealand is very concerned at the message that the US administration will be giving about international free trade if it were to restrict or penalise unsubsidised lamb imports from New Zealand.

'The Government will continue to put New Zealand's case for continued unhindered lamb access. Our farmers produce top quality lamb, our product is unsubsidised and for a country like the US that espouses free trade, any moves to restrict access through protectionist tariffs would be a reversal in policy.'

'Whilst the visit had been planned for next month this has been brought forward to ensure our arguments have maximum impact, while advice to President Clinton is being formulated.'

The US International Trade Commission has recommended that President Clinton address the threat of injury to US lamb producers posed by imports of New Zealand and Australian lamb. Following their recommendations in March, President Clinton has been given 60 days to respond.

'The type of measures suggested by different members of the International Trade Commission, if implemented, would seriously undermine New Zealand's lamb trade to the US.'

'We will continue to argue vigorously that any measures adopted by the US Government to assist the US lamb industry as a result of the ITC findings, should be non-trade restrictive and should focus on co-operative strategies to grow the domestic lamb market.'

Mr Luxton reiterated that if the US administration wants to help their sheep industry, penalising unsubsidised imports is not the way to go. 'Trade restrictions that will only hurt all concerned," Mr Luxton concluded.