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Aust steps up sugar trade fight with India

Australia has taken another step to escalate its dispute with India’s continuing sugar subsidies, which the government says threaten a $2 billion export industry.

After formally initiating action in the World Trade Organisation in February, Australia has now joined with Brazil and Guatemala to ask the body to set up a dispute resolution panel.

It says India’s subsidies have contributed to a global sugar glut and hurt Australian farmers.

Despite the escalation of the dispute, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham insists Australia’s relationship with India remains robust.

“Australia’s relationship with India is strong and it shows how valuable the trading system is that even close partners with good relations can utilise WTO processes to address trade disputes,” he said in a statement on Friday.

The sugar industry supports more than 40,000 jobs, mainly in regional communities, the government says.

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