21 Nov 2009

NZ calls for US to remove dairy export subsidies

4:25 pm on 21 November 2009

New Zealand's Trade Minister Tim Groser says the United States should follow the European Union's lead and remove dairy export subsidies.

The EU re-introduced the subsidies in January this year, but has been scaling them back since October as international dairy prices have improved.

Mr Groser says the EU's removal of the remaining export subsidies sends an encouraging message to the international dairy market.

He says the US justified its re-introduction of dairy export subsidies on the basis of the Europeans having done so, and he is now waiting for Washington to remove them.

Mr Groser says it is important that other countries do not revert to export subsidies as a response to market conditions.

Federated Farmers welcomed the EU decision. Dairy spokesperson Lachlan McKenzie says other countries' export subsidies drive down the international price of dairy products and hurt New Zealand farmers.

Mr McKenzie says there was a downward blip in international dairy prices when the subsidies were reintroduced, but the lack of supply in the international market has seen prices increase again.

Mr McKenzie is hopeful the US will remove its dairy export subsidies, but says it is unlikely.