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Wednesday, 3 May 1989
Page: 1736

(Question No. 680)


Senator Macklin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, upon notice, on 29 November 1988:

(1) With respect to a claim by the former Trade Minister, Mr Dawkins, reported in The Age of 25 April 1987 (`US envoy denies Dawkin's, trade loss figure') that Australia was losing more than $1.3 billion a year because of United States (US) grain subsidies, has the Department of Trade, now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ever quantified the cost to Australia of the US Export Enhancement Program (EEP); if so, what has been the cost to the Australian agricultural sector for the years 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88.

(2) What has been the cost to the Australian wheat industry for each of these years.

(3) When and by whom was the study made which enabled Mr Dawkins to quantify the loss to Australia caused by the EEP.

(4) If no figures are available, how is this when earlier figures were apparently available to Mr Dawkins.

(5) What was the name of the report to the US Congress which was referred to by a government official in the above newspaper report and who prepared it.


Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) No. The former Department of Trade did not cost separately, the effects of the Export Enhancement Program (EEP) on the Australian economy and therefore, the government does not have estimates of the cost of the EEP to the Australian agricultural sector for the years 1985-86 to 1987-88. In this context I refer Senator Macklin to responses made to his Question, No. 577 and No. 654, by my colleague the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy.

(2) See (1) above.

(3) Mr Dawkins in his speech (Question 1) did not mention the loss to Australia of just the EEP. He referred rather to the cost of the US Food Security Act, as a whole, of which the EEP is only one part. This statement was based on an internal study prepared in November 1986 by the former Department of Trade and referred to in the answer to your question No. 654.

(4) See (3) above.

(5) The title of the report is ``International Trade: Implementation of the Agricultural Export Enhancement Program'' and it was prepared by the United States General Accounting Office.