AWB Chairman Brendan Stewart will speak at the International Grains Council (IGC) annual conference later this week before traveling to Brussels to meet with the European Commission, Geneva for the World Trade Organisation and Washington DC to meet with the US Government.
"On behalf of Australian wheat growers I will be raising some key trade related issues with the governments of the EU and the US as well as communicating the Australian grains industry’s priorities for the current WTO negotiations," said Mr Stewart.
"With the passing of the recent Farm Bill in the US and the re-introduction of export restitutions in the EU, the world’s two biggest economies seem to be backsliding on their responsibilities and commitments for a more equitable global trading system for agriculture," said Mr Stewart.
The IGC conference is the key gathering for the world grain trade with representatives of the world’s major grain importers and exporters. The topic for this year’s conference is New Milling Markets - Opportunities for Trade.
"In my speech to the conference I will be highlighting the global marketing strategy AWB has built around the single desk system, and how this has helped the Australian wheat industry capture the high quality end of global wheat trade," said Mr Stewart.
"As the single desk manager, AWB is able to get close to its international customers, establish their requirements and needs, and then feed this information back to growers. This ensures the Australian wheat industry is exporting a differentiated product tailored to the needs of its customers, rather than a bulk commodity.
"This system operates in stark contrast to that in the US where market signals are so blurred by government subsidies that growers have little incentive to pursue premium markets," said Mr Stewart.
Mr Stewart said included as part of the new US$170 billion Farm Bill, was a direct subsidy designed to encourage US growers to plant white wheat varieties over their traditional red varieties.
"This highlights the culture of dependence in the US grains sector that is a result of decades of reliance on Government handouts," Mr Stewart said.
"With this subsidy the US is looking to compete further in international markets for white wheat, and we do not shy away from this competition because we know our white wheat is among the finest and cleanest in the world and AWB has strong relationships with the world’s major white wheat buyers.
"But what is most telling is the way the US Government has gone about trying to boost their white wheat production in the new Farm Bill and what it reveals about US farm policy.
"Instead of allowing US exporters to find out what the customer wants and simply letting US growers respond to these market signals the US Government has to subsidise growers to persuade them to grow white wheat.
"In countries without subsidies, such as Australia, market signals stimulate demand and there is no need for this kind of government planning to guide production," said Mr Stewart.