Letter: Trade, US-styleby Robert BomNews Weekly
, July 14, 2001
Despite some earlier hopes, it looks as if President Bush is no better disposed towards Australian agricultural trade than was President Clinton.
In the level playing field stakes, Australia is doing more than its fair share. Our subsidies to the net income of farmers are only six per cent. Compare that to the rest of the major economies, including the US, where the farmers get their net income subsidised on average by 40 per cent.
That is how they can dump some of their produce on to our domestic markets, together with the risk of introducing foreign diseases.
The United States now wants Australia to put its quarantine regulations up for negotiation.
Mr Bush, rather than spending billions of dollars cleaning up exotic diseases such as foot and mouth, banana pests, papaya fly, fire ants and apple/pear fire blight, we need our vigilance in quarantine, with more of it required, not less. Robert Bom