My recommendation follows the Commission's unanimous determination on February 9, 1999, under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. The Commission found that lamb meat is being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of the threat of serious injury to the domestic lamb industry. The largest increases in imports took place in the most recent two year period. Australia and New Zealand, two traditional suppliers to United States consumers, together accounted for over 98 percent of total imports during the period examined.

There is no allegation of any unfair trade practices by the foreign producers. On the basis of their production efficiencies, product advertising programs, and innovative marketing strategies, the Australian and New Zealand lamb meat industries have fairly and effectively drawn United States consumers to their product in increasing numbers.

Unfortunately, conditions in the domestic lamb industry have not been so positive. The industry has been in declining health, buffeted by many factors beyond its control. For example, demand for lamb has declined due to changing consumer food and clothing preferences, while the industry's income was reduced with the 1995 revocation of the Wool Act subsidies the industry had received over several decades. The industry has not been fully successful in introducing efficiencies and improving the industry's cost structure commensurate with the changes in supply and demand conditions. It has taken some steps to improve its ability to compete more effectively with beef, pork and other sources of protein available to consumers, but much more needs to be done.

The Commission's role now is to recommend to the President the most effective mechanism to facilitate the industry's adjustment to import competition. The remedy must fit the problems faced by the domestic industry. After careful analysis, it is clear that the domestic industry's greatest needs are to reduce its production costs and simultaneously expand demand for lamb.


In summary, I have recommended to the President a remedy that creates temporary boundaries to future increases in import competition, providing the industry with badly needed "breathing room," and provides adjustment assistance to help the industry address the problems that have hindered its ability to compete effectively in the meat protein market. In my judgment, it is the most effective action the President can take to "facilitate efforts by the domestic industry to make a positive adjustment to import competition and provide greater economic and social benefits than costs."