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Positive news for dairy farmers.

AUSTRALIAN ministers have called on the US to follow a lead set by the European Union and end subsidies on dairy exports.

“Given that the US introduced dairy export subsidies in response to the EU introduction of subsidies, the US has no excuse to continue with this program,” Trade Minister Simon Crean and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said in a joint statement.

The European Dairy Management Committee last week decided to cut the level of export subsidy refunds on butter and butter oil to zero - the decision applies to all dairy products, they said.

The EU introduced subsidies in January and this was followed by the US, which introduced a dairy export incentive program in May, which remains in place, they said.

The EU decision is good news for Australian dairy producers, who supply 10-15 per cent of the global trade in dairy products, and another sign that protectionist measures are being wound back, the ministers said.

The EU decision comes after a rise in world dairy prices, they said.

The elimination of export subsidies will be one of the key outcomes from a completed Doha Round of multilateral trade talks, making it impossible for members of the World Trade Organisation like the US and EU to reintroduce such protectionism, which distorts the picture of global trade.