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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Rapid City, South Dakota)
For Immediate Release                                       July 7, 1999


        President Clinton Provides Import Relief And Adjustment
                   Assistance For U.S. Lamb Industry

President Clinton today announced a combination of import relief and domestic assistance for the U.S. lamb industry lasting three years in response to a recent surge in lamb meat imports.

The President's action follows a unanimous finding by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) that the domestic lamb industry is threatened with serious injury due to a surge in lamb imports. In April, the USITC recommended that the President provide import relief to the domestic industry.

Today's decision demonstrates the President's commitment to the vigorous and full enforcement of our trade laws. The package of import relief and domestic assistance has been carefully crafted to help our lamb industry achieve sustained competitiveness, while respecting our international trade obligations.

As part of today's actions, imports of lamb meat will now face higher duties for three years, effective July 22, 1999. Specifically, imports up to a quota level set at 1998 import levels will be subject to duties of 9 percent in the first year and declining thereafter; while imports above the quota will face sharply higher tariffs, starting at 40 percent in the first year and declining thereafter.

The President further directed the Administration to develop an effective assistance package for the domestic lamb industry. The package will total as much as $100 million over the next three years -- half of which will be available in the first year. It will include funding for productivity improvements, market promotion, animal health, and domestic purchases.

To ensure that the relief enhances the competitiveness of the U.S. lamb industry, the President will set specific benchmarks for the USITC to apply in its mid-term evaluation of industry developments.