Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said India's sugar subsidy regime was inconsistent with WTO rules and had helped create a glut in the global sugar market.
Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said India's sugar subsidy regime was inconsistent with WTO rules and had helped create a glut in the global sugar market. Brittany Cook

Helping Bundy canefarmers: Action to stem tide of sugar

IN A BID to get the region's - and Australia's - sugar industry back on a level playing field, the Federal Government has joined forces with Brazil to launch formal dispute action in the World Trade Organization (WTO) against India's continuing sugar subsidies.

Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said India's sugar subsidy regime was inconsistent with WTO rules and had helped create a glut in the global sugar market.

"This glut is hurting Australia's canegrowers and millers, and is threatening our $1.8billion sugar export industry by dragging down prices to unsustainable lows," he said.

"Australia always seeks to resolve its concerns outside of the WTO's dispute system, and our numerous representations to India at the highest levels and in the WTO have been consistent with this approach.

"Unfortunately, our representations, and those of other sugar exporting countries, have so far been unsuccessful.

"This has left us with no other choice but to initiate formal WTO dispute action."

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud backed the action to protect the industry that relies heavily on exports, sending roughly 80per cent of its raw sugar into the world market.

"These subsidies are hitting our farmers and I'm pleased we're exercising our WTO rights and asking for an even playing field," he said.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said right now there were two big issues that mattered to canegrowers - price and power.

"The Federal Government is taking action in the WTO as India's subsidies have affected the world price and I once again urge Premier Palaszczuk to bring down power prices," he said.

"Without rain, or immediate relief on power prices, canegrowers in this region are looking down the barrel of a very tough year."



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