30 July 1998
Australia up in arms over US farm subsidies

AUSTRALIA is to lodge an official complaint to Madelaine Albright, US trade secretary, over President Clintons decision to beef up US agricultural subsidies.

John Howard, the Australian prime minister, said the USA had “insulted” Australian farmers with moves to subsidise agricultural exports to traditional Australian markets.

However, Mr Howard would not be pressed on rumours that his conservative coalition, under pressure from the growing popularity of the extremist One Nation party, was considering introducing protectionist measures to help its own farmers.

The US announced plans earlier this month to buy surplus wheat from its domestic farmers for food aid to countries including Indonesia and Sudan. These are some of Australias traditional markets.

The issue will feature in annual ministerial talks beginning in Sydney today. Mrs Albright and William Cohen, the US defence secretary, will face Mr Howard and representatives from his government.

  • Financial Times 30/07/98 page 4