Australia takes next step to help Australian sugar industry

  • Joint media release
  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
  • Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Agriculture
12 July 2019

The Morrison Government is taking the next step in our World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against Indian sugar subsidies that have contributed to a global sugar glut and hurt our sugar industry.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said strong action was needed against Indian sugar subsidies that create an uneven playing field and have driven sugar prices to unsustainable lows.

"India has not taken concrete action to respond to Australia's long-held concerns and continues to provide subsidies in breach of its WTO commitments," Minister Birmingham said.

"The longer these unfair subsidies continue, the greater the impact will be on our hardworking Australian canegrowers and millers and the regional jobs they create.

"Together with Brazil and Guatemala, Australia has now requested that the WTO establish a panel to resolve our dispute with India."

"Australia's relationship with India is strong and it shows how valuable the trading system is that even close partners with good relations can utilise WTO processes to address trade disputes."

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said this action was about standing up for our regional producers and the $2 billion sugar industry.

"This is about protecting over 40,000 jobs and the regional communities that are supported by our sugar industry," Minister McKenzie said.

"We'll continue to support our farmers and producers, and we'll do everything we can to make sure their interests are protected."

Australia launched formal WTO consultations against India in February to seek the winding back of subsidies inconsistent with WTO rules. Australia strongly supports the multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core.

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