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APL welcomes Productivity Commission inquiry

by 5m Editor
19 October 2007, at 9:34am

AUSTRALIA - Australian Pork Limited (APL) has welcomed yesterday’s announcement by the Australian Government that the Productivity Commission (PC) will undertake a safeguards inquiry into the impact of imports of pig meat on the Australian pork industry.

Australian Pork Limited’s CEO, Andrew Spencer said today, Australian producers are caught in a vicious cost price squeeze with record levels of imports acting to suppress farm gate prices. Compounding this is the continued upward spiral of feed grain costs as a direct result of the drought. No industry can continue to operate under those circumstances.

“To put this into perspective 110,000 tonnes of frozen pork (equivalent to approx 3.1 million pigs per annum) was imported, in 2006-2007, thereby displacing local pork in the ham, bacon and smallgoods markets. This amount of frozen pig meat is equivalent to 5kgs of pork for every Australian man, woman and child,” Mr Spencer said.

In recent years the industry has made significant progress in increasing sales of domestic fresh pork as well as in reducing its costs of production. However with this surge of imports, all of these benefits are being undermined which has left the industry in a precarious position.

“I’m sure Australian consumers would be shocked to know that approximately 70 percent of all ham, bacon and smallgoods sold in Australia comes from imported pig meat.”

Mr Spencer said, Australia’s pork industry is one of the top 10 pork exporters in the world. The industry is not afraid of competition, however the current operating environment experienced by Australian pork producers is not sustainable.

“In this situation access to Provisional Safeguards (allowable under World Trade Organisation (WTO) guidelines) has been sought to try and stem the flow of these record levels of imports.

“The terms of reference for the inquiry are concise as well as focused and in view of the severity of the situation, require a preliminary report to be delivered to the Federal Government by the 14th December with a final report by the end of March 2008.”

To register an interest in the inquiry or to find out more, details are available from the Commission at www.pc.gov.au or phone 02 6240 3839.

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5m Editor