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West Ventura County Focus

OXNARD : Harbor District Seeks End to Meat Quotas

August 27, 1993|DWAYNE BRAY

The Oxnard Harbor District, trying to create jobs by increasing the amount of meat shipped into the Port of Hueneme, is urging U.S. trade officials to lift quotas on imported meat.

A 1978 federal law set limits on the amount of meat allowed into the United States based on how much is produced domestically, said Anthony J. Taormina, executive director of the Port of Hueneme.

Last year, about 23,000 metric tons of lean beef was imported from Australia and New Zealand to the Port of Hueneme. Most of the beef is blended with U.S. beef to make hamburger, Taormina said.

He said the quota on imported meat, currently at 574,000 metric tons a year for the United States, needs to be raised to at least 700,000 metric tons.

Such an increase, he said, would increase the meat imported through the Port of Hueneme threefold, to up to 80,000 metric tons. And that, Taormina said, would allow the port to double the number of seasonal workers it employs from 200 to 400.

Taormina said it is important to increase maritime business with the loss of aerospace and defense-industry jobs.

A contingent from the Oxnard Harbor District met last week in Washington with economic and trade officials who will be attending upcoming trade talks in Geneva, Taormina said.

"You've got to impress on Washington, D.C., that California needs the maritime jobs that we are losing to base closings," Taormina said.

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