IMPORTANT MOVE: Koumala cane farmer Serg Berardi says getting a code of conduct surrounding sugar marketing is critical.
IMPORTANT MOVE: Koumala cane farmer Serg Berardi says getting a code of conduct surrounding sugar marketing is critical. Emily Smith

Debate on sugar marketing escalates

THE SINGAPORE government has become another player in the escalating debate between cane growers and sugar marketing giant Wilmar.

Two codes of conduct, which would ensure growers have a choice in cane marketing and would retain existing market arrangements, are making their way through parliament.

This followed Wilmar's announcement they planned to exit current sugar marketing arrangements during 2016.

But a Wilmar executive general manager Shayne Rutherford said the proposed codes of conduct had prompted the company to raise concerns with the Singapore government.

"We have raised our concerns about the expropriation of our manufactured sugar with both the Australian and Singapore governments," Mr Rutherford said.

"Why would anyone want to invest in an Australian manufacturing or processing business if it doesn't own and control the product it makes?"

He said the codes would likely breach free trade agreement obligations.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said she had written to Queensland Government this month and reminded them to be mindful of these free trade agreement (FTA) obligations.

"(But I)...did not make any judgement in relation to any proposed code of conduct," she said.

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the proposed code of conduct from the sugar marketing taskforce was well within the Singapore FTA.

In a week where sugar officially missed out on yet another free trade agreement, with China, cane grower Serg Berardi said getting a code of conduct on sugar marketing through parliament was the single most important thing.

 


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