Meat & Livestock News

ASI Examines Trade Concerns Over Lamb Imports

The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) has publicised a video podcast detailing the current status of a legal inquiry started a few months ago. This inquiry is centred on the potential filing of a violation of US trade law by lamb importers. 

Peter Orwick, the ASI Executive Director, provided an update while the association anticipates the preliminary findings from the law firm Kelly Drye. These findings will be presented to the ASI Executive Board at the end of this month.

Orwick highlighted that the main focus is gauging the trade case’s strength. This strength is based on two factors: the overall injury to the industry, encompassing sheep producers, lamb feeders, and lamb companies, and the estimation of any violations, such as dumping or subsidy margins. 

This will help the board forecast the potential impact on American lamb returns if tariffs are imposed on imported lamb meat.

Orwick also mentioned the significant costs and time of pursuing a trade case against lamb-importing nations. The legal expenses alone would amount to a minimum of $1.3 million, and the entire process could span nearly a year. 

He thanked the ASI’s volunteer leaders for their involvement in numerous meetings and interviews with legal firms earlier this year. Their efforts were aimed at obtaining expert advice on US trade law.

Given the substantial investment required, the ASI Executive Board has decided that a vote from the complete board of directors will be necessary to proceed with any legal action. 

Although there’s an option for a virtual meeting in the upcoming months, an in-person meeting is scheduled during ASI’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, from January 10th to 13th.

Earlier in April, eight of ASI’s 44 state member associations and the National Lamb Feeders Association requested an investigation into lamb imports. Following this, a law firm was chosen to conduct confidential financial surveys of American sheep producers, lamb feeders, and lamb companies in May. 

This initial probe also includes an international analysis of lamb meat pricing and production costs, which will be crucial for the recommendations presented to the ASI Executive Board.