National Farmers' Federation

US subsidies another blow to drought stricken farmers, NFF calls on Government to register disapproval at AUSMIN talks

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is calling on the Australian Government to register its disapproval in the ‘strongest possible terms’ with the United States Administration following its decision to provide US$12 billion in new subsidies to US farmers.
NFF Chief Executive Tony Mahar said the subsidies would hurt Australian farmers who were already suffering from crippling drought conditions.
“Australian farmers are amongst the least subsidised in the world which means our agriculture exports are particularly vulnerable to increased government assistance in competitor nations.”
Mr Mahar said the news of the additional subsidies was particularly disappointing given Australian farmers, especailly those in Queensland and New South Wales, were contending with one of the worst droughts in decades.
The subsides are a direct response to the fall out from the US’ decision to impose tariffs on China, the European Union and other countries. While the US Administration has called for a level trade playing field, these new subsidies will do nothing but further tilt agricultural markets against those farmers who play by the book.
Mr Mahar said such ‘reckless actions’ damaged the global trade system on which our farmers relied so heavily.
“Our fear is that this is deepening the potential for a global trade war that will hurt producers and consumers alike.”
The World Trade Organisation, and its predecessor the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), were created to ensure the crippling tariff increases that contributed to the Great Depression did not happen again.
“It appears the US has ignored the hard-learnt lessons taught by the damage caused by trade protectionism,” Mr Mahar said.
The NFF is calling on Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop to register Australia’s strong opposition to the announcement with her US counterpart at the annual AUSMIN talks this week.

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