The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP
The Hon. Mark Vaile, MP

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Media release

Australian Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile
Wednesday, 7 March 2001 

Vaile to Work with Industry on Europe Meat Exports

Trade Minister Mark Vaile will work with the meat industry to lobby for more access to the European Union market in light of the devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

Mr Vaile this morning met in Canberra with representatives of the major meat industry groups, including Meat and Livestock Australia, the Cattle Council, the Sheepmeats Council, National Meat Association, Livecorp, the Australian Meat Council and individual exporters.

"The Australian Government sympathises with the plight of the farming communities in the EU and Great Britain as a result of the serious impact of the current BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) and foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks," Mr Vaile said.

"The unanimous view at this morning's meeting was that everything possible must be done to ensure BSE and foot-and-mouth disease do not enter Australia." 

The government has already committed to providing AQIS with the required resources to maintain Australia's disease-free status. Australia is also providing veterinary assistance to the UK to help manage the foot-and-mouth outbreak and has offered further assistance.

"Meat exporters indicate that Australia will easily fill the existing quota for beef (7000 tons) and sheep meat (18,650 tons), and could supply more if access were available," Mr Vaile said.

"For years, Australia has tried to increase access to the European market and we will keep fighting to do so. I will meet the EU ambassador and the UK High Commissioner to discuss this serious situation.

"We will also work to seek out opportunities in third country markets that have banned EU products.

"Around half of the EU's export markets have now closed their borders to EU beef products, and Australian producers have already received several inquiries from these markets.

"The government and industry agree that we should be vigilant in those third country markets to ensure we identify and exploit any opportunities that arise, remaining sensitive to the situation in Europe and to our long-term trading interests." 

Contact: James Baker (Ministerial) 02 6277 7420
Nicole Guihot (Departmental) 02 6261 1555 

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