There is no tariff rate quota on lamb imports into the United States, and the duty rate on lamb meat is less than one-half of a cent per pound. Therefore, the United States is one of the very few freely traded markets in the world for lamb meat as evidenced by the fact that it is the largest valued market for Australian lamb and the second largest value market for New Zealand lamb. In comments submitted to the secretary of the U.S. International Trade Commission on the U.S.-Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement by the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) the investigators were encouraged to compare wholesale lamb prices as collected mandatorily on domestic and imported lamb sales. Price comparisons demonstrate that the half cent per pound duty has no significance on trade given the historical price discounts on foreign product.
The International Trade Commission is investigating any impact of eliminating duties on imports from Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Chile and Brunei, Singapore and Peru due to the TPP. Trade negotiators were scheduled to begin discussions this week in Australia with the primary issues being access for more beef and dairy products to America.
In 2007, American sheep operations had $509 million in farm gate sales -- $450 million in lamb production, $3.3 million in mutton and $38.5 million in wool sales.
ASI encouraged the negotiators to include a safeguard mechanism that would address supply surges in imported lamb meat to the United States from Australia and New Zealand.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33