Billings, Mont., Nov. 15, 2023 – Recently, a bipartisan group of 14 members from eight states joined with Congressman Blake Moore (R-UT) and Congresswoman Harriet Hageman (R-WY) in a letter sent to U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai urging her to request the U.S. International Trade Commission to initiate a Global Safeguard Investigation requested in August by the R-CALF USA Sheep Committee’s Protect American Lamb project.
A Global Safeguard Investigation is a trade remedy available under Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974 to domestic industries that suffer serious injury due to import surges. The congressional letter explains that the purpose of the requested Section 201 investigation “would be to determine if lamb and mutton are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic sheep industry.”
The letter further states that while lamb and mutton consumption increased nearly 17% since 2018, the U.S. sheep and lamb inventory declined 4% during the same time, which the congressional members called a “continuation of a long-term downward trajectory.”
The letter expressed concern with the domestic sheep industry’s response to increased consumption and stated it “deserves a careful, probing analysis.” It stated this was particularly needed given the dramatic increase in import market share since 2012 and a 31% surge in the volume of imports since 2018.
The letter concluded that, “These trends support a prompt and fair investigation by the International Trade Commission of whether the import surge is a substantial cause of serious injury to the United States sheep industry. A request initiated by your office could help ensure the long-term stability and sustainability of this important domestic industry. We respectfully request your full consideration of this request.”
“The domestic sheep industry is in a dire situation,” said Carson Jorgensen, a 6th generation American sheep rancher. “This letter to the U.S. Trade Ambassador from members of Congress echoes the sentiment. It’s time America starts to put our food supply and food security at the top of the priority list.”
“The sheep industry is the cattle industry’s canary in the coal mine, and it’s in need of immediate attention before it reaches the point of no return. We’re thankful so many members of Congress have stepped to the plate to take a hard look at what unlimited imports are doing to this important livestock sector,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
The bipartisan group of 14 congressional members from eight states joining the letter include: Reps. Blake Moore (R-UT), Harriet Hageman (R-WY), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), John Curtis (R-UT), Mary Miller (R-IL), Burgess Owens (R-UT), Matthew Rosendale (R-MT), Michael Simpson (R-ID), Dina Titus (D-NV), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Russ Fulcher (R-ID) and Susie Lee (D-NV).