Australia has spoken out against moves from the EU and US to introduce dairy export subsidies to support their struggling dairy industries.

Chairing a meeting of agricultural exporting nations in Bali, Australian Minister for Trade Simon Crean said he wanted to send a “strong political message” on the need to “fight protectionism and conclude World Trade Organisation negotiations”.

Ministers from the Cairns Group are meeting in Bali on 7-9 June to work towards concluding the Doha Round world trade talks.

“Now is the time for political engagement if we are going to drive the Doha Round to a successful conclusion. Only concluding the Doha Round can eradicate market-distorting subsidies such as dairy export subsidies that have re-emerged this year,” Crean said

In the face of falling global dairy prices, Brussels announced that it will reintroduce dairy export subsidies in order to shore-up the European dairy industry in January. The move was followed by the US Department of Agriculture, which reintroduced dairy export subsidies for US producers in May.

Australia and New Zealand, both major dairy exporting nations, have led international protests against the subsidies.