The US government formally lifted its import quota on lamb meat from Australia and New Zealand yesterday [Thursday]. The announcement had been expected for several months since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled that the quota was illegal. Restrictions ranging up to 40% on previous quotas were first imposed during the Clinton administration in 1999, and they were due to expire in July 2002. The US sheep meat industry had lobbied the government over the problems of low prices and stiff foreign competition.