NPPC Urges Australia Not To Limit Pork Imports

US - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today, has welcomed the recommendations of the Australian Government's Productivity Commission, stating that provisional restrictions should not be imposed on US pork imports to Australia.
calendar icon 21 December 2007
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“NPPC urges the Australian government to follow the recommendation of the Productivity Commission and not place restrictions on U.S. pork imports,” said NPPC President Jill Appell, a pork producer from Altona, Illinois.

The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Safeguards allows WTO member countries to impose for up to 200 days provisional safeguard measures if “a surge of imports causes or threatens to cause serious material injury to a domestic industry.” The Productivity Commission found that these circumstances are not present, and U.S. imports are not causing the current hardship of the Australian pork industry.

Australian pork producers are seeking government protection from pork imports in the form of tariffs of up to 62 per cent despite the fact that their representative organization, Australia Pork Limited, admitted to the Productivity Commission that “a substantial part of the [Australian pork] industry is not globally competitive.”

Given the Productivity Commission’s findings, Appell suggested that Australian Pork Limited encourage the Australian Government to terminate the safeguard proceeding and redirect its focus to other measures that could address the problems of Australian pig farmers, namely higher feed prices caused by the drought and renewable fuels.

“Simply allowing the proceeding to run for a further three months will only delay action that could actually help Australian pig farmers,” said Appell.

The US pork industry only recently gained access to the Australian market. Australia now is one of the top destinations for U.S. pork, with exports topping $65 million in the first nine months of 2007. In mid-October, just prior to the recent Australian election, the previous government asked the Productivity Commission to begin its investigation and issue an accelerated report of its findings by 14 December 14. A final report is due by the end of March 2008.

The defence of the Australian market for US pork exports is being made possible in part because of the effective working relationship between NPPC and the National Pork Checkoff Board and their shared goal of increasing US pork exports.

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