March 6, 2003
News Release 03-023
U.S. LAMB MEAT PRODUCTION DOWN, IMPORTS UP
U.S. imports of lamb meat rose steadily from 1997 through 2001, reports the U.S. International
Trade Commission (ITC) in its publication Industry and Trade Summary: Live Sheep and Meat
During 1997-2001, the period covered by the report, annual U.S. imports of lamb meat rose from
60 million pounds, valued at $123 million, to 108 million pounds, valued at $206 million.
The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding agency, recently released the report as part of
an ongoing series of reports on thousands of products imported into and exported from the
United States. The report addresses the market, industry, and trade conditions for live sheep and
meat of sheep from 1997 through 2001. Following are the highlights of the report:
- The U.S. sheep and lamb population declined by 13 percent, from 8 million animals on
January 1, 1997 to 7 million animals on January 1, 2001. Lamb meat, which accounts for
the bulk of U.S. sheep meat production, declined by 12 percent, dropping steadily from
251 million pounds in 1997 to 222 million pounds in 2001.
- U.S. lamb meat imports rose from 60 million pounds in 1997 to 108 million pounds in
2001. Virtually all U.S. imports of lamb meat are from Australia and New Zealand. The
share of imports accounted for by fresh or chilled products rose from 40 percent in 1997
to 64 percent in 2001; conversely, U.S. imports of frozen products declined from
60 percent to 36 percent. Imports as a share of U.S. consumption of lamb meat rose from
20 percent in 1997 to 33 percent in 2001.
- In April 1999, the ITC determined under section 202 of the Trade Act of 1974 that lamb
meat was being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a
substantial cause of the threat of serious injury to the domestic lamb industry.
Subsequently, on July 7, 1999, the President imposed import relief in the form of a tariff-
rate quota (TRQ) on imports of fresh, chilled, and frozen lamb meat. The import relief
was imposed for a period of three years and one day.
- Australia and New Zealand challenged the U.S. lamb meat safeguard measure under the
World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement procedures. The WTO dispute panel
ruled that the safeguard measure was inconsistent with WTO rules. Following an appeal
by the United States, in May 2001 the WTO Appellate Body upheld, in part, the ruling.
The USTR announced on August 31, 2001, that a settlement agreement had been reached
with Australia and New Zealand, and the TRQ was terminated effective November 15,
Industry and Trade Summary: Live Sheep and Meat of Sheep (USITC Publication 3579, February
2003) will be available in the Publications section of the ITC Internet web site at www.usitc.gov. A printed copy may be ordered by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary,
U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may
be faxed to 202-205-2104.
ITC Industry and Trade Summary reports include information on product uses, U.S. and foreign
producers, and customs treatment of the products being studied; they analyze the basic factors
affecting trends in consumption, production, and trade of the commodities, as well as the factors
bearing on the competitiveness of the U.S. industry in domestic and foreign markets.
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