• Lockwood Smith

New Zealand will lodge a request for a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel to rule on the legality of the United States decision to impose tariffs on imports of New Zealand and Australian lamb.

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith confirmed today that New Zealand's request for a panel will be submitted to the WTO in Geneva tomorrow. The panel will be asked to determine whether the US measure is consistent with WTO rules.

"New Zealand and the US held consultations in Geneva on 26 August as required by WTO rules to try and resolve this matter. The consultations did not lead to a resolution of our differences, so we have now taken the further step of asking that a WTO panel make a ruling on the legality of the US action," Dr Smith said.

"The New Zealand Government maintains its view that the measures imposed by the US on imported New Zealand lamb were not consistent with WTO rules.

"Efficient producers should not be penalised for successfully marketing a quality product to consumers in offshore markets, and today represents the next step in our efforts to challenge the legality of the United States' decision to impose trade restrictions on New Zealand's lamb industry," Dr Smith concluded.