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Causley welcomes removal of EU pork subsidies.

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The Hon Ian Causley MP Member for Page

Causley Welcomes Removal of EU Pork Subsidies

Tuesday, 23 March 2004

A STRONG protest by the Australian Government has seen the European Union (EU) remove its export subsidies on uncooked pigmeat. While welcoming the removal of the subsidies, Federal Nationals Member for Page Ian Causley said a more lasting solution would be for the EU to make a commitment as part of the Doha Round of negotiations to never again use export subsidies - for any purpose. Mr Causley said subsidies hurt Australian producers, who were efficient and managed without significant government support. He said any increase in export subsidies further damaged an already distorted world market. He said the pig industry, like many rural industries in Australia, had undergone significant structural change in recent decades. “Australian pigmeat producers have had to cope with a range of recent market difficulties, including rising currency values, high feed prices because of drought and low world prices,” Mr Causley said. Mr Causley said the Australian Government and producers were working together to address the challenges facing the pig industry. He said the Government had already provided a $24 million package of assistance to the pork industry, which was allocated along the following lines: $9 million to the National Pork Industry Development Program; $2.6 million to the Singapore Pork Market Alliance Program; $8 million to the Pigmeat Processing Grants Program; $1 million to FarmBis Training Initiatives for Pork Producers, called Pork Biz; and $3.4 million to assist those pork producers, who through economic circumstance had to leave the industry, to exit it with some dignity. He said recent Government actions included: facilitation by AQIS of feed grain imports during the drought; drought declaration for many Australian pig producers; endorsement of a proposed promotional levy on imported pork; establishment of an industry-Government working group; and consideration of industry's request to the Treasurer for a Productivity Commission inquiry into the impact of present imports