AUSTRALIA ASKS JAPAN TO LOWER BEEF TARRIFS

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 17) - Australia's Agriculture Minister has joined in calls for Japan to reverse its decision to increase tariffs on Australian beef.

Trade Minister Mark Vaille recently met with Japanese officials in Tokyo, but failed to get any assurance that the increase will be dropped.

Japan buys more than A$1 billion worth of Australian beef each year and plans to increase beef tariffs from 38 percent to 50 percent.

Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss says the tariff increase fails to take into account the reason for increased Australian beef sales to Japan.

He says higher sales have come on a depressed market affected by the outbreak of Mad Cow disease in Japan.

Queensland's Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk is calling on the Prime Minister, John Howed to personally intervene.

February 17, 2003

Radio Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/ra 

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