30 Apr 2013

Tin fruit import tax requested

1:25 pm on 30 April 2013

The federal government in Australia is being asked to impose an emergency tax on imported tin fruits to save fruit growers in Goulburn Valley, Victoria, and the SPC Ardmona cannery from collapse.

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said an urgent request has been received from SPC asking for special protection measures allowed under World Trade Organisation rules.

AAP reports the safeguards allow a government to act where a surge of imports threatens damage to a domestic industry.

News Limited reports SPC Ardmona told 114 farmers last week that their quotas for next summer would be cut or axed.

Fruit growers in the valley have begun ripping out fruit trees.

"The fruit and canned tomato industry has suffered immense damage from cheap imports that have flooded our market on the back of the strength of the Australian dollar," SPC Ardmona managing director Peter Kelly said in a letter to the minister.

Senator Ludwig announced a farm finance assistance package At the weekend, offering concessional loans to farmers struggling with debt.

The federal government will provide $A60 million in loans over two years to help farmers across the country restructure their debts. AAP reports the loans are up to $A650,000 for up to 20 years.