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Government supports proposed levy on pork imports

by 5m Editor
4 August 2003, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - Foreign pork producers may soon have to pay a promotional levy on all pig products they export to Australia.

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In a move applauded by Australian Pork Limited (APL), the Federal Government this week announced that they would be investigating the merits of such a levy.

The move follows a submission by APL, calling on the government to provide a 'fair playing field' for Australian pork producers.

In their submission, APL pointed out that local pig farmers poured in more than $8m.dollars in levy payments annually to develop and promote the Australian pork market. With imports accounting for a third of the domestic processed pork sales, it is now time that imported pork product contribute to the funding of generic promotions of processed product.

"Why should foreign pork producers get a free ride at the expense of Australian farmers," APL contested.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Warren Truss, was obviously swayed by APL's argument and this week took the first steps towards the possible introduction of a promotion levy on pork imports.

The move involves the government issuing a letter to all Australian processors who import pork asking them for their views on the sanctioning of such a levy.

A key point in the letter is Minister Truss' comment that he saw 'merit' in the proposal and that the levy would be a means of providing a more equitable arrangement for pork promotion in the Australian market.

The Minister also stated that while the government has always preferred voluntary levy systems to be implemented for industry promotion activities, it has also been prepared to make levies compulsory when they were needed.

APL Chairman, Dr Paul Higgins said the Australian pork industry would apply any funds raised through an import levy towards the marketing of processed pork in Australia.

He congratulated the Minister on his quick response to APL's submission which he said reflected the obvious concerns the Minister had for the future of a key Australian industry that was currently under intense pressure.

Source: Australian Pork - 31st July 2003

5m Editor