THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Rapid City, South Dakota) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 7, 1999
IMPORT RELIEF AND ASSISTANCE ADJUSTMENT FOR U.S. LAMB INDUSTRY
The President has implemented the following actions with respect to imports of lamb meat:
Temporary Import Relief: The President proclaimed a tariff-rate quota, effective on July 22, 1999, for lamb meat in an amount equal to 31,851 metric tons in the first year ( to begin fifteen days after the President's signature of the Proclamation ), an amount that is equal to imports of lamb meat during calendar year 1998. The tariff-rate quota amount will increase by 857 metric tons annually in the second and third years of relief. Individual country allocations for product imported from Australia, New Zealand, and an "other country" category within the tariff-rate quota have also been established, which reflect the shares of each country in calendar year 1998. Increased rates of duty for imports within the tariff-rate quota amount will be set as follows: 9 percent ad valorem for imports in the first year of relief; 6 percent ad valorem for imports in the second year; and 3 percent ad valorem for imports in the third year. Rates of duty for imports above the tariff-rate quota levels will be set at 40 percent ad valorem in the first year of relief, 32 percent ad valorem in the second year, and 24 percent ad valorem in the third year.
The President concurred with the USITC finding that imports of lamb meat produced in Canada and Mexico do not account for a substantial share of total U.S. imports of lamb meat and are not contributing importantly to the threat of serious injury. As required by statute in such situations, the President excluded lamb meat from Canada and Mexico from the import restrictions. Similarly, the safeguard measure will not apply to imports of lamb meat from Israel, beneficiary countries under the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act and the Andean Trade Preference Act, and from other developing countries that account for a minor share of lamb meat imports.
Adjustment Assistance: The President instructed USDA, USTR, OMB, and the NEC, in consultation with the U.S. industry, to provide a set of substantial domestic assistance measures that will improve the competitiveness of the U.S. industry and facilitate efforts by the industry to adjust to import competition. The President's action provides for adjustment assistance of as much as $100 million over three years, with $50 million available in the first year.
Monitoring: The USITC will monitor developments with respect to the domestic lamb industry over the next 18 months, including the progress and specific efforts made by ranchers and firms to make a positive adjustment to import competition. The USITC will provide to the President and to the Congress a mid-term report on the results of its monitoring by no later than December 31, 2000. The President has instructed USTR, in consultation with USDA and OMB, to transmit to the USITC no later than 30 days from today a list of specific benchmarks that USTR recommends that the USITC use in connection with its monitoring and in preparing its report. These benchmarks are to be focused on industry efforts to adjust to import competition, the effectiveness of USDA assistance, and on price trends for domestic and imported lamb meat.