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NEWS RELEASE 99-038; MARCH 26, 1999 March 26, 1999
News Release 99-038
Inv. No. TA-201-68

ITC ANNOUNCES RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE PRESIDENT
TO REMEDY THREAT OF SERIOUS INJURY CAUSED BY IMPORTS OF LAMB MEAT

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today announced the remedies that it will recommend to President Clinton to address the threat of serious injury to the domestic industry from imports of lamb meat.

On February 9, 1999, the Commission made an affirmative determination under section 202 of the Trade Act of 1974 that increased imports of lamb meat are a substantial cause of the threat of serious injury to the U.S. lamb meat industry. It further made a negative finding with respect to imports of lamb meat from Canada and Mexico under section 311 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation Act. As a result of the affirmative threat determination, the Commission proceeded to the remedy phase of its investigation. Today's action relates to that phase of the investigation.

Chairman Lynn M. Bragg and Commissioners Carol T. Crawford and Thelma J. Askey announced that they will recommend that the President impose a tariff-rate quota on imports of lamb meat for a four-year period. The tariff-rate quota would be set at 20 percent ad valorem on imports of lamb meat above 78 million pounds, carcass weight equivilent (cwe), in the first year; at 17.5 percent ad valorem on imports of lamb meat above 81.5 million pounds (cwe) in the second year; at 15 percent ad valorem on imports of lamb meat above 81.5 million pounds (cwe) in the third year; and at 10 percent ad valorem on imports of lamb meat above 81.5 million pounds (cwe) in the fourth year. These Commissioners will further recommend that the President implement appropriate adjustment assistance measures, drawing on authorized programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commmerce providing specialized direct payments, research, and animal health programs; and that the President look to the industry's report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and its recommendations when considering adjustment assistance options.

Pursuant to section 330(d)(2) of the Tariff Act of 1930, the remedy finding of Chairman Bragg and Commissioners Crawford and Askey in this investigation will be treated as the remedy finding of the Commission by the President.

Vice Chairman Marcia E. Miller and Commissioner Jennifer A. Hillman announced that they will recommend that the President impose an increase in the tariff rate applied to imported lamb meat over a four-year period, so that imports will be subject to a dutiable rate of 22 percent ad valorem in the first year of relief, 20 percent ad valorem in the second year, 15 percent ad valorem in the third year, and 10 percent ad valorem in the fourth year. They will further recommend that the President identify and implement other action authorized under the law that is likely to facilitate positive adjustment to import competition; specifically, that he take action to ensure that the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center is fully operational, and make additional assistance available through other federal programs, primarily those administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They further noted that they would expect the domestic industry to take all steps within its power to carry out the adjustment plan it submitted to the Commission.

Commissioner Stephen Koplan announced that he will recommend that the President impose a four-year quantitative restriction on the importation of lamb meat into the United States. The quantitative restriction would be set at 52 million pounds in the first year; 56 million pounds in the second year; 61 million pounds in the third year; and 70 million pounds in the fourth year. He further will recommend that the quantitative restriction be allocated on a country-by-country basis, with separate allocations for Australia, New Zealand, and "all other" countries in proportion to their average share of imports into the United States during calendar years 1995 through 1997, which he found to be the most recent three years that are representative of lamb meat imports. He further will recommend that the President take all action necessary to ensure that the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center is fully operational as soon as possible, and that the President make available either through the Center or directly to the industry the full measure of federal assistance programs, including those administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

All six Commissioners will recommend that any imports of lamb meat from Canada, Mexico, Israel, and the beneficiary countries under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act or the Andean Trade Preference Act be excluded from relief measures.

The Commissioners further elaborated on their recommendations in statements that accompany this news release. They noted that full details on their recommendations will be included in the report to the President, which will contain their findings and recommendations in this investigation.

The Commission will forward its findings and recommendations to President Clinton by April 5, 1999. The President, not the Commission, will make the final decision whether to provide relief to the U.S. industry and the type and amount of relief.

The Commission's public report to the President Lamb Meat (Inv. No. TA-201-68, USITC Publication 3176, April 1999) will contain the views of the Commission and information developed during the investigation. A copy may be requested after April 26, 1999, by calling 202-205-1809 or writing to The Office of the Secretary, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.

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