Action Alerts | PMA's newsletter | What's on | Links | How PMA can help you
Help PMA grow | Petition forms | Site map | PMA main page


Action Alert picture

'Free' trade - lamb comments

Peace Movement Aotearoa

PO Box 9314, Wellington. Tel (04) 382 8129, fax (04) 382 8173,

9 July 1999

Kia ora, for those of you interested in free trade and the latest demonstration that it is a one-way process, here is a small selection of media releases from various political sorts. Lots of handy quotes in these !

1) Jenny Shipley, 8 July 1999 ... "NZers are angry and deeply disappointed "...

2) Lockwood Smith, 8 July 1999 ..." [US] sullied by giving in to short-sighted protectionist sentiment"

3) Lockwood Smith, 8 July 1999 ... "Labour Party has demonstrated its sheer stupidity and short-sightedness"

4) Rod Donald, 8 July 1999 ... " Lamb tariffs expose APEC farce"

1) MEDIA RELEASE, Thursday 8 July 1999


The United States' decision to impose lamb import tariffs is totally unacceptable and will lead to World Trade Organisation action, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"New Zealanders are angry and deeply disappointed at a decision that will, in effect, be a tax on our lamb exporters. The US decision will for the next three years limit our exports and prevent our non-subsidised industry from further developing the US lamb market.

"US lamb growers, whose shortsighted protectionism led to calls for safeguards, will gain nothing from an outcome that stifles both market growth and consumer choice.

"It is difficult to take any comfort from the US decision except that the outcome could have been much worse," said Mrs Shipley.

New Zealand exports worth over $140 million last year could have been stopped overnight if the more prohibitive restrictions sought by American sheep interests had been introduced.

Mrs Shipley said that intensive lobbing by the New Zealand and Australian governments, Meat New Zealand, and industry and farming leaders, have together rolled back the worst of the damage.

"Our arguments were given considerable weight at the most senior levels of the US administration and I have no doubt helped them to reject domestic US lobbying for even heavier trade restrictions. New Zealand left no stone unturned in our lobbying.

"For all that we are deeply disappointed that trade restraints have been introduced. The outcome unfairly penalises our industry. New Zealand cannot and will not let the matter rest.

"We have immediately started active consideration of our WTO options. We will be working closely with Australia on any action that will be taken," said Mrs Shipley.

2) MEDIA RELEASE, 8 July 1999


Trade Minister Lockwood Smith has denounced the United States' decision to impose restrictions on imports of New Zealand lamb.

US President Bill Clinton today announced that he had approved an across-the-board tariff on all imports of lamb from New Zealand and Australia in response to the US sheep meat industry's application for safeguard action under Section 201 of the US Trade Act of 1974.

"It's bitterly disappointing that the US has chosen this approach," said Dr Smith.

"In applying these trade restrictions, the US has turned its back on a very constructive proposal from Meat New Zealand and its Australian counterpart, and allowed its long standing reputation as a supporter of free and open trade to be sullied by giving in to short-sighted protectionist sentiment.

"This decision will impose costs of approximately $24 million on New Zealand's lamb industry over the next three years. It will also limit New Zealand's legitimate trade expectations by choking off future prospects of growth with the heavy out-of-quota tariff.

"New Zealand's trade with the US is fair, and, according to the US International Trade Commission, has not caused actual injury to the US sheep meat industry. This unwise decision sends unfortunate signals, particularly in the year when the US will host the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial meeting which is expected to launch the next round of trade negotiations.

"The most frustrating aspect of today's decision is that everyone loses. New Zealand's farmers and exporters will lose, and the decision will do nothing to assist the serious challenges faced by the US sheep meat industry.

"New Zealand will not take today's decision lying down. My officials have been assessing the impact of today's decision on the New Zealand industry. We are actively considering our WTO options, and in consultation with the meat industry and Federated Farmers we will respond according to New Zealand's best interests.

"The US Government's unwise decision means that a WTO action is certain," Dr Smith concluded.

3) MEDIA STATEMENT, 8 July 1999


The Labour Party has demonstrated its sheer stupidity and short-sightedness by suggesting that President Clinton should stay away from APEC in New Zealand according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

"The Labour Party's reaction to the US Government's decision to impose trade restrictions on New Zealand lamb exports is foolish, short-sighted, and demonstrates the precise behaviour that saw them drive the US-New Zealand relationship into disarray in the 1980s," said Dr Smith.

"The Government takes the introduction of new trade restrictions against our lamb producers very seriously. We've already formally advised US Ambassador Josiah Beeman of New Zealand's intention to take a WTO action against this decision, and met with legal advisers and meat industry and farming leaders to discuss New Zealand's response.

"For their part, Labour have blundered into the debate and shown that they've learnt nothing since they were last in Government.

"Labour left New Zealand's relationship with the US in tatters last time they were in Government, and today's statements show that if given the chance, they'd do it all over again.

"Their immaturity and lack of understanding of Foreign Affairs and Trade is astonishing.

"Notwithstanding the bitter taste left by President Clinton's decision today, we must not lose sight of the importance of the US market for New Zealand farmers, producers, and exporters. Rebuffing its leader will achieve nothing for New Zealand producers further damage our market opportunities in the US.

"Under Labour, New Zealand's exporters may as well shut up shop, because it's clear that they'd escalate every trade setback into a major diplomatic disaster," Dr Smith concluded.

4) Press Release, 8 July 1999

Lamb tariffs expose APEC farce says Green Party

The Green Party says President Clinton's decision to impose tariffs and quotas on New Zealand lamb imports to the United States is another nail in the coffin of free trade.

"Clinton's decision to slap tariffs on New Zealand lamb exposes APEC for the farce that it is," says Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"New Zealand taxpayers will be questioning why the Government is spending $44M to host APEC when its biggest player thumbs its nose at our farmers.

"National's love affair with free trade has well and truly turned sour.

"President Clinton's determination to put his own farmers first also exposes the callous way the National government has treated small businesses and workers in New Zealand.

"Tens of thousands of jobs, particularly in manufacturing, have disappeared in the last decade because of National's fixation with free trade.

"Removing all protections from the New Zealand economy has been a disastrous strategy in the context of other governments managing trade in the best interests of their own people," he said.

Contact Rod Donald on 04 470 6660 or 025 507 183

Return to main page on globalisation.

Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Click here
Action Alerts PMA's newsletter What's on where Peace links Help PMA grow How PMA can help you Petition Forms Site Map