June 3, 2004
Australia Faces Fight To Maintain Iraqi Wheat Exports
A Sydney academic says Australia will struggle to sell wheat to Iraq in the future, which has been one of its top four customers.
Fredoun Ahmadi is Associate Professor with the faculty of agriculture at the University of Sydney, and believes the United States will capture the entire Iraq market in the foreseeable future, because it is in control of the country.
"I think the US has totally captured that market. Given the fact that they are spending hundreds of billions of dollars on the war in Iraq, the taxpayers and especially agricultural producers would like to have a good share of that market, and I'm sure that has been captured for a while," he said.
Wheat exporter AWB has admitted it is not likely to maintain its 80 to 90 per cent share of the Iraqi wheat market.
Michael Long, AWB general manager of sales in the Middle East, says when the Iraq Grains Board put up its first tender last month, Australia and the US supplied half each.
He is confident Australia can maintain a large share of the lucrative market.
"Our aim at the moment is to secure at least 50 per cent," he said.
"We understand that it's a new world, and I think we have to be realistic to understand that the Americans have been instrumental in the current events and they will expect some market access."