Indian subsidy hits global sugar prices

The Sugar Milling Council says the Indian support package announced overnight confirms Australia’s worst fears.
Courtesy: Queensland Country Life

Millers say an additional A$1 billion to support the Indian sugar industry has confirmed Australia’s worst fears. Australian Sugar Milling Council chief executive officer David Pietsch said the Indian support measures were sending world sugar prices to decade lows.

“Our concerns have already been taken up strongly by Australia’s Trade Minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, supported by the Australian Sugar Milling Council’s initial analysis,” Mr Pietsch said.

“However, with current prices more than 30 per cent below the cost of production for many in the Australian industry further action is urgently needed.

“While the global sugar market had priced much of this eventuality in, these measures will force global sugar prices even lower, hurting sugar mills and cane growers in Australia, who do not receive government subsidies.”

Mr Pietsch said the ASMC believed India was in breach of its World Trade Organisation obligations in terms of the levels of price support provided to farmers, and transport subsidies to dump excess supply onto the world sugar market.

“We are calling on the Australian Government to intensify representations to the Indian Government and to canvas like-minded sugar exporting nations to join Australia in pursuit of action against India at the WTO,” he said.