Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg.
Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg. Contributed

Mackay sugar industry welcomes action on India

MACKAY'S sugar industry has welcomed the Federal Government's action to take India to the World Trade Organisation after it dumped large volumes of subsidised product onto the international market.

The actions have caused a worldwide sugar surplus and driven market prices to a 10-year low which has affected Mackay growers.

A 'counter notification' has been submitted by the Australian Government which will be discussed at the WTO Committee on Agriculture on November 26-27.

Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg said growers in this region had been significantly affected by the low market prices caused by the global sugar surplus.

"We are well below the cost of production. We need to see prices react to some sort of adjustment. We did see some stabilisation of prices after the challenge with the early 2000s. I'm hoping to see something similar," Mr Borg said.

"Canegrowers have been lobbying the Federal Government for a while about this issue, we need a level playing field as far as market prices go".

Mr Borg said he expects a resolution in the long term and that the sugar industry will be keeping a close eye on any developments.

"I think our trade with India is deeper than one issue.

"If there is diplomacy through these negotiations, I think something can be achieved," he said.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said there was an opportunity for other countries to voice their concerns about India's reckless actions.

"Australia will take India on over its sugar subsidies which are pushing down the global sugar price and hurting Aussie farmers," Mr Christensen said.

"This move has the potential to at least stabilise the world price of sugar and that helps our farmers. Every step which eases cost pressures for our growers is a welcome one."

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