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AMI Hails Landmark Trade Vote In Congress

Wednesday, May 24, 2000

Washington, DC - The American Meat Institute (AMI) today hailed the U.S. House of Representatives’ approval of Permanent Normalized Trade Relations (PNTR) with China as a historic opportunity to bolster meat exports to the world’s most populous nation.

“Today’s House approval of China PNTR was a vote for American agriculture and American meat,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “With China's population of 1.3 billion people and a bilateral agreement to drastically reduce tariffs for imported U.S. meat, China PNTR will give our industry access to the largest market in the world. This is truly a historic opportunity.”

In November 1999, China and the United States signed the landmark Bilateral Agreement on U.S.-China Agricultural Cooperation. The agreement permits any Chinese importer to import pork or beef from any federally inspected U.S. meat plant. Upon China’s entry into the WTO, it will slash beef tariffs from 45 percent to 12 percent by 2004, one of the sharpest drops for any agricultural tariff. Tariffs on pork and poultry will be reduced from 20 to 12 percent by 2004. In addition, China has pledged to eliminate export subsidies and provide the right for U.S. companies to import and distribute products without going through state-trading enterprises.

According to USDA estimates, the bilateral agreement and China’s entry into the WTO will add at least $2 billion per year to U.S. agricultural exports by 2005.

“China’s accession into the WTO is vital to the growth of the U.S. livestock and meat industry, from ranchers to packers to exporters,” Boyle said. “Ensuring the health of the U.S. meat industry through expanded exports is good for agriculture and ultimately good for the U.S. economy, which has suffered record trade deficits in recent months.”

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory and public relations services, conducts scientific and economic research, offers marketing and technical assistance and sponsors education programs.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
James Ratchford
Manager, Public Affairs

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