SEPTEMBER 27, 2018: ACTION overnight by the Indian Government to dump five million tonnes of subsidised sugar onto the world market is a callous and irresponsible move which threatens bilateral relations.
The time for talking is now well and truly past and I have already spoken to Trade Minister Simon Birmingham about the need for tough action for the sake of our cane farmers.
India wants to have a bilateral trade agreement with Australia but this move to further violate international trade rules means there is now less trust.
How can we do a bilateral trade deal with India when we can’t trust them to play by the normal international trade rules?
India has ignored numerous overtures from Australia and other sugar-producing countries to heed their World Trade Organisation obligations.
Their move overnight to dump five million tonnes of subsidised sugar onto the world market proves that they simply don’t care.
This glut of sugar has sent the global price into another downward spiral, wiping another $14 per tonne off the price in one night. That equates to a drop of about $170 a tonne over the past 10 months.
The result for cane farmers across this region, in Mackay, Proserpine and the Burdekin, is that they’re working for nothing.
Costs for cane farmers are rising – on electricity, irrigation and regulation – but the world sugar price is falling thanks to the irresponsible actions of India.
The Indian government is basically paying farmers to grow cane and then they’re dumping it cheaply onto the world market, dropping the price further.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham is lodging an official complaint with India today.