AWB International (AWBI) has advised the Wheat Export Authority that it does not support the approval of three new bulk wheat export permit applications, submitted by Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH), for a total of 100,000 tonnes of Australian wheat to be shipped to existing AWB National Pool markets in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.
AWB International’s Acting General Manager David Johnson said that the applications were again carefully and thoroughly reviewed on their merits. However, while CBH provided some additional information to that provided in the initial application, this only served to re-affirm AWBI’s original conclusion that to issue these bulk permits would not complement the National Pool.
“The objective of export permits under the Wheat Marketing Act is to complement the National Pool system, while allowing the development of other markets to the benefit of growers,” Mr Johnson said.
“The re-submitted applications do not complement the objectives of AWBI in maximising net pool returns, but in effect compete directly with the National Pool to the detriment of the majority of WA growers. Further, the applications are not only for existing AWB Pool markets, but for an existing AWB Pool customer.
“AWB sold approximately 3.7 million tonnes - worth over $A800 million – to these existing & established markets in the 2004/05 Pool, accounting for more than 20% of the Pool. Similarly, AWBI has a major sales program committed to Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia again in 2006.
“It is insincere for CBH to claim that issuing CBH bulk permits would not result in a multiple seller situation in these markets. Furthermore, it is incorrect to imply such permits would somehow complement the National Pool.
“AWBI has already received enquiries and expressions of concern from other National Pool customers in the Asian region regarding CBH’s bulk permit applications. This includes enquiries from a Japanese noodle wheat customer as to whether bulk permits would be approved. Another competing customer of CBH has advised AWBI that they too would have to seek access to bulk permits if CBH were able to access them.
“The fact that CBH part owns these mills does not give them an automatic right to a bulk permit. If this were the case there are numerous multi-national traders, mills in Australia, Australian based traders, and other BHC’s, that have interests in overseas milling assets that would dearly like to export at the cheapest value they could.
“AWBI see no reason why the wheat CBH is seeking for the mills it part owns could not be sourced through the National Pool, just as existing WA stock is supplied by AWBI in conjunction with CBH. This way any potential benefits could be shared by all growers without putting all WA grower returns and the Single Desk at risk.
“AWBI is happy to continue to work with CBH and Interflour to both deliver Interflour’s continued supply requirements, and return any efficiencies achievable to growers. AWBI considers this will be to the benefit of the majority of WA growers and the Single Desk.” Mr Johnson said.
For further information, contact:
Christian Sealey, AWB Media Adviser, 03 92092193
Claire Wilkinson WA Industry Relations Adviser 08 9318 8291 or 0427 192 967
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