The Productivity Commission has been ordered by the Australian government to review the option of imposing safeguard tariffs on pork imports in order to save the beleaguered industry.
Australian Pork Limited’s CEO, Andrew Spencer, commented in a press release today that record import levels from Denmark, Canada and the US are squeezing prices of local producers. This coupled with the rising grain costs, as a result of the drought, are making it difficult for the industry to operate.
“Australian consumers would be horrified to learn that approximately 70% of their ham, bacon and smallgoods originate from imported pig meat,” he said.
Emily Mackintosh, Communications Manager for Australian Pork, commented that “losses were amounting to AUD$4m (US$3.5m) per week. The cost of producing pigmeat has risen to AUD$3 (US$2.7) per kilo. However, farmers are only receiving AUD$2.30 (US$2) at the farm gate.”
The Commission has been asked to report back within two months (by December 14) as to whether the situation is so grave to warrant tariff protection.