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IBAA OPPOSES LIFTING DUTY ON CHEESE IMPORTS

 IBAA OPPOSES LIFTING DUTY ON CHEESE IMPORTS
 WASHINGTON, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Lifting the 25 percent


import duty on goya cheese could cost U.S. dairy farmers up to $2 billion in lost income and raise government farm program expenditures, according to the Independent Bankers Association of America (IBAA).
 In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills, IBAA opposed a petition filed by Hungary for Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status for goya cheese, which would waive the duty on goya for all 130 GSP nations. Goya, a hard cheese not produced in the United States, could be used as a substitute for other hard cheeses like romano and parmesan, which are produced domestically.
 IBAA Agriculture-Rural America Committee Chairman Gary S. Nelson said approving the petition could increase goya imports by up to 220 million pounds annually. This would displace 1.9 billion pounds of milk used to make domestic cheese, and lower U.S. dairy farm income by up to $2 billion per year.
 The loss in dairy production would be the equivalent of putting 2,200 60-cow dairy farms out of business, he said.
 "As our nation's economy emerges from the recession, our government should be looking for ways to boost employment of U.S. workers, not lower it," IBAA told Hills.
 IBAA said increased cheese imports also would raise the cost of the U.S. farm program. Lower sales of U.S. dairy products would lead to excess production, which could be purchased by USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation under the dairy price support program.
 This petition, originally filed last year, was denied in May 1991. It is being reconsidered under the administration's Trade Enhancement Initiative for Central and Eastern Europe. Normally, GSP petitions cannot be reconsidered for three years. The initiative is intended to boost the economies of emerging democracies and help them make the transition to market economies.
 "We support efforts to assist emerging democracies get on their feet," said Nelson, president of the Scandia American Bank in Stanley, N.D. "But not at the expense of U.S. farmers."
 As an alternative to lifting import duties, IBAA suggested allocating unused dairy quota to emerging democracies. This would enable them to boost their agricultural exports, while holding U.S. agriculture harmless.
 A decision on the petition is expected by the end of April.
 IBAA, representing more than 6,000 banks located in all 50 states, is the only national trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the nation's community banks.
 -0- 4/14/92 R
 /CONTACT: Ron Ence of the Independent Bankers Association of America, 202-659-8111/ CO: Independent Bankers Association of America ST: District of Columbia IN: FIN SU: EXE


SB -- DC015 -- 8297 04/14/92 12:54 EDT
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Date:Apr 14, 1992
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