The Australian government is expected to unveil an aid package this week for the country’s sugar industry after it did not form part of a free trade agreement with the US.

“The sugar package I’m going to announce very soon is very comprehensive. I think it will be seen by people as being a very fair and detailed and generous response to a very difficult issue,” Prime Minister John Howard was quoted by Reuters as saying.   

The package, expected to be worth between A$300m (US$219.7m) and $400m, is aimed at helping the struggling industry recover from losses caused by low world sugar prices, which the industry blames on subsidies and price supports in Europe, the US and elsewhere.

The Australian sugar industry was also excluded from a recent free trade deal between Australia and the US that would have given it access to the US market at better price levels, reported Reuters.