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Aust. Urges EU to Comply with WTO Sugar Rulingz

Australia Urges EU to Comply with WTO Sugar Rulings

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile, and the Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, have warned the EU that Australia will continue to push hard against EU plans to increase exports of subsidised sugar this year.

Mr Vaile and Mr McGauran wrote to EU Commissioner Fischer Boel on 8 August, registering Australia’s serious concerns about any move by the EU to increase sugar exports. The Ministers again underlined their concerns during the Commissioner’s recent visit to Australia.

"Action to increase sugar exports would come at a time when the EU is required to take steps to reduce its sugar exports, consistent with World Trade Organization dispute rulings," Mr Vaile said.

"The Australian sugar industry is almost entirely reliant on world sugar prices for its income from sugar production. The disposal of additional quantities of EU sugar on the world market would come at a time when world sugar prices are only just beginning to recover from record low prices," Mr McGauran said.

"Australian sugar farmers should not have to bear the cost of internal EU reform."

Mr Vaile said that following indications the EU Commission was likely to proceed with action to increase sugar exports, further high level representations were being made. Australia together with Brazil and Thailand would also raise the issue in the WTO Dispute Settlement Body.

The WTO rulings require the EU to limit its annual exports of sugar - all of which are subsidised - from an average of around five million tonnes a year to a maximum of 1.273 million tonnes a year, as well as to reduce its export subsidy expenditure from an estimated €2 billion a year to a maximum of €499.1 million.

The WTO implementation period commenced on 19 May 2005. The end date for implementation will be determined by binding WTO arbitration, with a decision expected to be announced on 28 October.

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