ANNOUNCEMENT 08 Feb 2016
In April 2013, the Australian authorities introduced the Farm Finance Concessional Loans Scheme to support the Australian farming businesses in financial difficulty.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
World Trade Organisation, Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures - Subsidies - New and full notification - Australia, WTO document No. G/SCM/N/284/AUS, 8 February 2016, page 7: https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/FE_Search/FE_S_S009-DP.aspx?language=E&CatalogueIdList=230824,227366,226772,226693,225250,135343,134488,131596,130533,126809&CurrentCatalogueIdIndex=3&FullTextHash=&HasEnglishRecord=True&HasFrenchRecord=True&HasSpanishRecord=True
Government of Australia, Budget 2016-17, Appendix D: Debt Transactions: http://www.budget.gov.au/2016-17/content/bp3/html/bp3_09_appendix_d.htm
The Farm Finance Concessional Loans was introduced on 27 April 2013 and ran until 30 June 2015. The Scheme will support the Australian farming industry through favourable loans below commercial interest rates. Loans were offered with "concessional interest rate of 4.5%" and interest-only payments for a period up to five years. The individual loan amount varied depending on the applicant and the geographical area. Queensland and the Northern Territory have the highest individual loan amounts with a maximum AUD $1 million (approx. USD 1.027 million).
In this context, the Australian authorities stated: "The Australian Government recognised that rural debt continued to be a significant challenge facing some parts of the farming sector and therefore assisted farming businesses to return to profitability through Farm Finance Concessional Loans."
As of 30 June 2015, the Australian government has approximately 200 million (USD 153.87 million) in outstanding loans under this scheme. In the budget year 2015-16 the total value of loan repayments under the scheme was AUD 62.82 million (USD 48.33 million).
The Australian authorities notified the World Trade Organization of this subsidy scheme on 28 January 2016 in accordance with Article XVI:1 of the GATT 1994 and Article 25 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing measures.