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Get action on US export enhancement program for wheat

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P I 85/245.


{Statement by the Hon John Kerin, M.P., Minister for Primary Industry and Acting Minister for Trade)

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The Minister for Primary Industry and Acting Minister for Trade, Mr Kerin, said today

that he had been informed that the European Economic. Community was intending to initiate

action in the GATT against the export enhancement program (EEP) of the United States on

wheat exports. He said this was in response to the announcement by the US Government

last week of its intention to take GATT action against the wheat export subsidies of the EEC.

Mr Kerin said it now afpmn=d that the issue of export subsidies on wheat was to be brought

to the GATT by both the US and the EEC. As a result he hoped that meaningful and

effective progress on resolving the general subsidisation problem could be made. The

Minister said he welcomed this.

Mr Kerin said the export enhancement program operated as a direct subsidy on the export of

wheat from the US. While the export subsidy policy of the EEC is of more fundamental concern

to Australia given the range of ccmnodities covered and the scale of subsidisation,

Australia was concerned about the adverse effect that the EEP could have on the stability of

the world wheat market in general and Australia's export markets in particular.

The Minister said Australia's concern about the EEP had already been registered bilaterally

with the US authorities. While recognising the frustrations in the US with EEC subsidising

policies which had led to the initiation of the export enhancement program, Australia's

preference was for the question of export subsidies to be dealt with in a m u l t i l a t e r a l

negotiating framework rather than through unilateral subsidisation policies. Mr Kerin

said this latest move would bring the subsidy practices of both the EEC and the US

into the appropriate multilateral forum for these matters and Australia would be

providing strong support in Geneva for a close examination of this important and

damaging issue of export subsidisation.

More generally, Mr Kerin said Australia would be continuing to work hard in the GATT

and all other appropriate places to achieve a fairer basis for Australia's wheat


CANBERRA 23 October 1985 Media Contact : Joanna Lawe-Davies (062) 72 7444

(062) 959984