Productivity Commission Findings Under Attack

AUSTRALIA - Australian pork producers have hit out at the Productivity Commission findings into the Safeguards Inquiry into the Import of Pigmeat.
calendar icon 31 December 2007
clock icon 3 minute read
Australian Pork Ltd's CEO Andrew Spencer

The producers' organisation Australian Pork Ltd said the Productivity Commission was asked, before the 2007 Federal election, if temporary safeguard tariff restraints should be imposed on imports of pork.

Despite record levels of imports and the lowest pig prices in five years, the Productivity Commission has found: "There is not clear evidence that increased imports have caused or are threatening to cause serious injury to the domestic industry."

Australian Pork Ltd's CEO, Andrew Spencer, said he was very disappointed with the findings released from the PC.

"APL, along with hundreds of Australian pork producers, are baffled that the PC has chosen not to see the link between the record levels of pig meat imports and the worst producer profitability crisis in living memory," Mr Spencer said.

"Imports have increased by 40 per cent in the past year. The PC findings will result in another round of producer exits from those that were taking a 'wait and see' approach to their current situations."

He said that Australia's pork industry is being squeezed between a meteoric rise in imports, and an increase in production costs.

"Almost 70 per cent of the bacon and ham sitting on the shelves of Australia.s retailers comes from overseas, most of this product benefits from huge foreign subsidies on agriculture. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this amounts to over one hundred billion dollars worth each year, in the case of the EU," Mr Spencer said. "How anyone can consider that imports are not causing injury to our industry is beyond me.

"Imports have been so pervasive as to have made this industry unviable. Delay in any action by Government is not an option given the threat to the critical mass of the industry, mass producer exits and widespread culling of the breeding herd."

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