A struggle is brewing between US and Australian sugar producers over access to the profitable US market.

The Australian government is seeking to add sugar to the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries, a move that has already prompted an angry response from US producers.

According to Australian reports, the country’s trade minister Mark Vaile will use talks between the US and Australia in March to try and expand the FTA.

However, a report by the Australian Associated Press today suggested the Australian negotiating team may have its work cut out, with opposition coming from within the US domestic sugar industry.

Jack Roney, chief economist at the Washington DC-based American Sugar Alliance, told AAP that the ASA would fight any move by Australia to broaden the agreement to include sugar.

“We would fight that adamantly and I’m quite confident our government would fight that,” he said. “I would be shocked if it was changed.”